Rite Aid joins forces with Text4baby to help pregnant, new mothers

Retailer to offer 10,000 free flu shots to enrolled members of program

CAMP HILL, Pa. — The largest mobile health initiative for pregnant mothers and their babies has named Rite Aid its first national retail partner, the drug store chain said Thursday.

Rite Aid said it was named a partner of Text4baby, a free text messaging service for pregnant women and mothers of infants younger than 1 year. In response, Rite Aid said it would provide 10,000 free flu shots to mothers enrolled in Text4baby. The chain said the partnership would connect more women to important health and safety information. The company plans to advertise the new initiative using circular ads, in-store displays and social media, while Wellness Ambassadors at the chain's Wellness stores will provide information to help mothers enroll.

"Our partnership with Text4baby and founding sponsor Johnson & Johnson directly aligns with our commitment to improving the health and well-being of women, our core customer, and their children," Rite Aid SVP marketing John Learish said. "We're pleased to be able to use our broad customer base and our associates to help connect women to Text4baby and the valuable information it provides to mothers."

Women will receive three free text messages per week throughout their pregnancy and their baby's first year, in English or Spanish, if they text RABABY or RABEBE to 511411. The interactive messages are personalized to the mother's due date or the baby's birth date, with topics including safety, nutrition, birth defects prevention, safe sleep, developmental milestones and more. Members will be informed of the availability of the flu shots starting Oct. 15; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu shots are especially important for pregnant women, as the flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in those who aren't pregnant.

"We are excited that Rite Aid is joining us not only to expand the reach of Text4baby, but also, most importantly, to help mothers, mothers-to-be and their babies stay healthy during their pregnancy and beyond," J&J VP strategic partnerships Sara Colamarino said. "Our long-standing relationship and shared interest in helping women and children live healthier lives makes Rite Aid a perfect partner."

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