CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is getting a head start on the 2014-15 cold and flu season with the announcement Tuesday that seasonal flu shots are now available at Rite Aid pharmacies nationwide.
“Getting a flu shot as soon as it is available is the single best way to protect yourself and others against the flu,” stated Robert Thompson, Rite Aid EVP 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.”
In an effort to help employers avoid what the Centers for Disease Control estimates to be a $10.4 billion in direct costs for flu-related hospitalizations and outpatient visits for adults, Rite Aid will 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.
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 six of the last 11 flu seasons, will also be available. The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age 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 ages 65 years and older; the intranasal flu vaccine will be available mid-to-late August. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently recommended intranasal flu vaccine as the preferred vaccine for healthy children ages 2 to 8 years. 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 to 64 years of age.