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"Getting a flu shot as soon as it is available is the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu," said Robert I. Thompson, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy. "Rite Aid pharmacists stand ready to provide this important health service as part of our on-going commitment to helping our customers and the communities we serve live and stay well, and we encourage everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, so they and their loved ones are protected against the flu."
Once again, the standard trivalent flu vaccine will offer protection against three strains of the flu: the influenza A H3N2 virus, the influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus that emerged in 2009. Additionally, a quadrivalent flu vaccine that offers protection against an additional influenza B virus, which has appeared in 6 of the last 11 flu seasons, will also be available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months and older get a flu vaccination as soon as it is available, since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
All Rite Aid pharmacies currently have supplies of trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccines and a high-dose flu shot approved for people 65 and older; the intranasal flu vaccine will be available mid-to-late August. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recently recommended intranasal flu vaccine as the preferred vaccine for healthy children ages 2-8 (if it is immediately available). Upon request, Rite Aid pharmacists can administer an intradermal flu shot, which uses a smaller needle that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle, approved for people 18-64 years of age.
While the CDC recommends flu shots for everyone over six months, certain groups of people are at greater risk for complications from the flu. These groups include: diabetics, pregnant women, adults over 65, children under 5, those with asthma and other chronic lung diseases, those with kidney and liver disorders, heart disease patients and those with compromised immune systems.
In an effort to help employers avoid what the CDC estimates to be a $10.4 billion in direct costs for flu-related hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults, Rite Aid will once again have a team dedicated to planning and implementing onsite workplace flu clinics, staffed by certified immunizing Rite Aid pharmacists. Rite Aid is also able to offer employers a voucher program, in which employees would receive a flu shot voucher to use at any Rite Aid pharmacy. For more information, employers can visit www.shieldmyworkforce.com or call 1-800-622-2106.
Flu season also provides an opportunity for people to review other immunization needs. Using an immunization checklist that is based on guidelines and recommendations from the CDC, Rite Aid pharmacists are able to advise people on other immunizations they may need. Rite Aid pharmacists are able to administer vaccinations for 12 other diseases, including pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps and rubella, meningitis, shingles and pneumonia, subject to state regulations. To learn more about Rite Aid's year-round immunization program, visit www.riteaid.com.
Rite Aid Corporation is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2014 annual revenues of $25.5 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at www.riteaid.com.
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