DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Tuesday announced that flu shots are now available at all locations, including pharmacies and Healthcare Clinics. Age restrictions vary by state at Walgreens pharmacies, while Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens can provide immunizations for patients age 2 years and older.
“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,” stated Harry Leider, 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% 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.
Following a second straight severe flu season in the United States, and one which impacted younger adults in particular with increased hospitalizations, health officials are encouraging early vaccination to help protect against influenza this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months as soon as the vaccine becomes available.