Individuals hoping to prevent the fluthis season should roll up theirsleeves and get a flu shot. TheCenters for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC) expect 100 millioninfluenza vaccines to be available for the2006-2007 flu season. This year's recordnumber is a significant improvementover the past 2 years, which includedtemporary shortages and flu vaccine distributionproblems.
Chain pharmacies are doing their partwith their annual flu programs.
Rite Aid held its main chain-wide flushot program October 12 to 14 at 1285clinics across the country.
The Costco flu program will run untilabout November 18 at >1600 Costcowarehouses across the United States. Inthis ninth year that Costco has offeredthe vaccine, each warehouse will havefrom 4 to 8 clinic dates. Dates and timesfor the shots can be found by contactingCostco warehouses. Each flu shot costs$18, and no insurance is accepted withthe exception of Medicare Part B (nocopay). Costco will use a priority systemfor administering the vaccine.
CVS, which has been offering flu clinicsfor >10 years, will conduct its programthrough mid-November at >4000 stores.The flu shots will range from $23 to $25,depending on the market. A CVSspokesperson said that Medicare Part Btypically covers the cost of the flu shot ifthe patient has not assigned his or herMedicare benefits to a health maintenanceorganization. While no appointmentis necessary, "first-come, firstserved" is the usual process. The chainpharmacy noted that it will prioritizeif necessary using CDCguidelines. Patients can find outmore information by visitingwww.cvs.com, by calling 800-SHOP-CVS (800-746-7287), or byasking their CVS pharmacist.
Kmart pharmacists have longbeen supporters of adult immunizationsand have hosted nurse-providedvaccinations for manyyears. The pharmacy beganoffering pharmacist-administeredflu vaccinations in 2003.This year's flu clinics are scheduledto run through mid-November at >1000 clinics inKmart, Sears Essential, and SearsGrand stores across the countryand in Puerto Rico. Patients withproof of coverage under MedicarePart B can receive the flushot for free. Patients paying out of pocketwill be charged $25. All flu immunizationclinics will follow any and all currentCDC guidelines and restrictions pertainingto the administration of seasonalinfluenza vaccine. Clinics may be requiredto select patients to receive the vaccinebased upon risk-based criteria providedby the agency. Otherwise, the flu shotswill be given on a first-come, first-servedbasis in a majority of cases. Patients canfind more information about the flu clinicsby contacting their local Kmart pharmacyor by calling the Kmart Pharmacy Flu ShotLocator at 800-822-8345.
The 2006-2007 flu season marks the13th year that Walgreens has been offeringthe flu vaccine program. Scheduled at>6000 clinics, the Walgreens programruns through November 17. Each flu shotcosts $25, and pneumonia shots are $40.Shots will be given on a first-come, first-servedbasis, unless the CDC issuesguidelines related to a shortage of thevaccine. Patients can find additionalinformation by calling 800-358-9950, byvisiting www.walgreens.com, from in-storesignage, or by asking a Walgreenspharmacist.
The upcoming flu season marks thesecond year that Wal-Mart and Sam'sClub will be administering flu shots. Theclinics, offered at 3700 locations, will beheld October 21 to 22 and October 28 to29. The cost is $25, and Medicare andHumana insurance plans will be accepted.No appointment is required, and the shotswill be given on a first-come, first-servedor priority basis. Patients can find moreinformation at www.walmart.com.