NEW YORK This story was picked up yesterday by our Drug Store News team for the Weekly Drug Fix as a prime example of the convenience that an established drug store footprint, combined with a burgeoning retail-based convenient clinic care model, can deliver to the American public.
And while it certainly does emphasize what retail pharmacy can bring to the healthcare reform table, it’s also indicative of just how aware, and concerned, the public is this year around the novel H1N1 virus. So serious, that they’re actually following repeated recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get their seasonal flu shots to the tune of more than 1 million inoculations in two short weeks.
That might have something to do with the fact that this year’s flu season has already started in earnest. This past Friday (Sept. 18), the CDC reported that influenza-like illnesses has been reported in all 50 states and is widespread in 21. CDC estimates 115 million doses of seasonal flu vaccine will be available. As of Sept. 18, 54 million doses were distributed. And as you can see at least at one pharmacy retailer, more than 1 million have already been administered.
Heightened awareness around influenza-like symptoms is going to drive a whole lot of consumers into pharmacies this year — in search of such items as hand sanitizers or cold/flu remedies, sure. But they’ll also be looking for information. That’s another benefit pharmacies and retail clinics afford the general public — ready access to either a pharmacist or nurse practitioner.