NEW YORK — Rite Aid kicked off its "Rite Aid Shield Yourself, New York" event Wednesday morning at New York's Grand Central Terminal, offering flu vaccinations delivered by Rite Aid pharmacists to the thousands of commuters passing through the Midtown Manhattan train station.
The retail pharmacy chain is co-sponsoring the event with Tuesday's Children, a charity set up to benefit the families of 9/11 victims and first responders, and chairman David Weild showed up to spur New Yorkers into getting vaccinated by getting a shot himself. It was slightly awkward at first, as the French cuffs on Weild's shirt made it difficult to roll up his sleeves, but Rite Aid clinical pharmacist Erik Groves — who said he had already performed about 8,000 vaccinations throughout his career — quickly administered the shot.
"We'd encourage everyone to go out and get a flu shot from Rite Aid," Weild told Drug Store News. "Bringing together organizations that care about the well-being of children is just a terrific fit."
For each vaccination administered, Rite Aid is donating $3 to the Tuesday's Children. It also is handing out donation tickets that people can use to make $3 donations to the organization when they get a vaccination at a Rite Aid store.
"I'm just absolutely delighted to have a major retail pharmacy chain corporate sponsor," Weild said. "I'd like to see lots of people come out and get their flu shots — millions. Let's try and get the whole United States population vaccinated at Rite Aid."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated against influenza, but according to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, only 27% of city residents are vaccinated in time for the start of the flu season, and more than 2,000 New Yorkers die every year from flu and pneumonia.