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NEW YORK CITY — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Thomas Farley received their seasonal flu vaccination Thursday morning at a Duane Reade pharmacy in New York City, demonstrating the importance of taking proactive steps to prevent the spread of influenza.
“We are proud to have Mayor Bloomberg reinforce to all New Yorkers the need for protection and prevention with his flu shot. Through greater access to immunizations across our network of Duane Reade and Walgreens pharmacies throughout New York, we are helping more customers get, stay and live well,” stated Jeff Koziel, market VP for Walgreens, which owns Duane Reade. “For those who have not gotten a flu shot yet, it is prime time for prevention with changes in the weather, the upcoming holiday travel season and many other ways in which germs and viruses spread this time of year.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention again recommends this year that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot. Vaccination is recommended every season as the best protection against influenza. Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacists in New York can administer flu shots to those age 18 and older.
“Getting the flu is no fun at all, and it can even be deadly," stated Bloomberg. "Every year, too many New Yorkers lose their lives to influenza, and the flu vaccine is the single most important protection against getting sick and spreading the flu to others. I urge everyone to go to their doctor, local health clinic or pharmacy and get a flu vaccine as soon as they can.”
Flu shots are covered under Medicare Part B as well as many insurance plans. All Walgreens points of care also offer Fluzone HD, a high-dose influenza vaccine for those over age 65, and all pharmacies offer Fluzone Intradermal, a shot administered with a smaller needle that is injected into the skin instead of the muscle.
New this season, Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies are also offering a free comprehensive immunization assessment with every flu shot. The assessment can help patients determine which other immunizations they may need based upon current CDC recommendations.
A recent Walgreens study found that more than 40% of U.S. adults surveyed were unaware of the latest government-recommended vaccinations for their age and health condition. More than half of those surveyed, 53%, also said they are not diligent about regular check-ups with their primary care physician.
New vaccine for this flu season
Each year, seasonal flu vaccine is produced to protect against the three viruses or flu strains that research indicates will be most prevalent. There is a new vaccine for this season, as the 2012-13 vaccine includes H1N1, as well as H3N2 and a B virus, which are different from those recommended for the Northern Hemisphere last season.
As community pharmacy and retail clinics have played an integral role in providing more convenient access to flu shots and other immunizations in recent years, Walgreens data from the 2010-2011 flu season shows that nearly one-third (32%) of the more than 6.3 million people who received flu shots as well as those for pneumonia, shingles and meningitis at Walgreens and Take Care Clinics had them administered during off-hours, including evening, holiday or weekend.