DEERFIELD, Ill., August 19, 2014 - Following a second straight severe flu season in the U.S., and one which impacted younger adults in particular with increased hospitalizations, health officials are encouraging early vaccination to help protect against influenza this season. Flu shots are now available at all Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) pharmacies, Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies in New York.
Flu shots are offered daily during all pharmacy and clinic hours, including nights, overnights at 24-hour pharmacy locations, weekends and holidays1, with no appointment necessary. Age restrictions vary by state at Walgreens pharmacies, while Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens can provide immunizations for patients age 2 and older. Flu shots are covered for eligible patients under Medicare Part B as well as most insurance plans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
“The flu has certainly hit harder the past couple of seasons, which is why it’s important to protect yourself and to do so early given the unpredictability that comes with every flu season,” said Harry Leider, M.D., Walgreens chief medical officer. “We’ve seen growing numbers of people waiting until December or January, or until flu activity becomes more widespread before getting their flu shot. The more people who get vaccinated, the better the community at large can be protected, however that 'herd immunity' has been lacking somewhat the last two years, which has been a contributor to more severe flu seasons.”
Walgreens data shows that over the last two seasons, an average of 26 percent of flu shots administered at its pharmacies and Healthcare Clinics came in December and January – approximately three times the percentage that were administered in those traditionally slower months during more typical flu seasons of 2010-’11 and 2011-’12.
Flu shots are offered on a walk-in basis, and those interested in appointments can schedule one online for any Walgreens or Healthcare Clinic by visiting www.walgreens.com or www.walgreens.com/clinic.
Walgreens points of care this season offer a number of vaccine options that may include standard seasonal flu vaccine, a needle-free nasal alternative, a high-dose influenza vaccine for those over age 65 and a quadrivalent vaccine which protects against four strains of influenza.
As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2013 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America, and beyond. Each day, in communities across America, more than 8 million customers interact with Walgreens using the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with online and mobile services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,217 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Walgreens digital business includes Walgreens.com, drugstore.com, Beauty.com, SkinStore.com and VisionDirect.com. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that manages more than 400 in-store convenient care clinics throughout the country.
1While immunizing health professional is on duty. Subject to availability. State, age and health-related restrictions apply. See pharmacy for details.
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