The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) next month plans to present its Immunization Champion Award to Rite Aid Corp. in recognition of the drug chain's comprehensive vaccination program.


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Rite Aid's immunization program wins APhA honors

February 9th, 2012

CAMP HILL, Pa. – The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) next month plans to present its Immunization Champion Award to Rite Aid Corp. in recognition of the drug chain's comprehensive vaccination program.

Rite Aid said Thursday that company officials will accept the award on March 11 in New Orleans at the 2012 APhA Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Winning the award in the national corporation/institution category, Rite Aid was honored for its extensive commitment to the program, which included using the APhA Immunization Certificate Training Program to train over 11,000 pharmacists chainwide to administer vaccines to children, teen and adult patients.

All Rite Aid pharmacists can administer flu shots. The company noted that in a December investor call, it reported that over 1.4 million flu shots were administered in 2011, more than double the previous year's total.

APhA cited Rite Aid's endeavor to develop and implement its immunization program chainwide, an effort that spanned at least eight internal departments responsible for reaching customers in stores and via radio, social media, print media and special community events; procuring an ample supply of flu vaccine starting in August, when experts advised health care professionals to begin flu immunizations; and creating partnerships with nonprofits, businesses, the armed forces, senior expos, high school sporting events, home-bound senior advocacy groups, educational institutions and professional sports teams.

The chain, too, collaborated with health care organizations to enable medical billing of flu shots at pharmacies and advocated on the behalf of pharmacists, including promoting and supporting legislation to expand patient access to vaccines administered by community pharmacists.

"Rite Aid made a companywide commitment to boosting public immunization rates for flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases. It's an honor to be recognized by our peers, the American Pharmacists Association, for our efforts," Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy Robert Thompson said in a statement. "I'd like to thank all Rite Aid pharmacists, as well as our store and corporate support teams, for making this valuable pharmacy service available to the communities we serve."

APhA also recognized Rite Aid for raising public access to more than a dozen vaccines where allowed by state law. The drug chain reported high vaccination levels for flu, shingles, pneumococcal and whooping cough.

"Comprehensive immunization programs, like the one offered by Rite Aid, highlight the value of pharmacy-based immunization programs and pharmacists' role as an integral member of their community’s immunization team," commented Mitchel Rothholz, chief strategy officer for APhA. "Rite Aid's immunization program provides examples of where pharmacists collaborated with public health and physicians to address public health concerns, such as whooping cough. The work by many individuals and organizations across the profession of pharmacy all lead to improving the public health of our nation."

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