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CVS/pharmacy, MinuteClinic providing pertussis vaccine in all Calif. locations

BY Antoinette Alexander

WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic have announced that they are offering the pertussis vaccine at all of its locations across California as the state’s whooping cough epidemic continues.

Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis) vaccinations are available at more than 850 CVS/pharmacy locations and 47 MinuteClinic sites inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in California. CVS pharmacists in California can vaccinate anyone at least 9 years old. MinuteClinic nurse practitioners can vaccinate anyone ages 18 months or older (children under the age of 7 years will receive the DTaP vaccine).

"Providing a range of important vaccinations at CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic is part of our purpose of helping people on their path to better health," stated Papatya Tankut, VP of pharmacy affairs at CVS Caremark. "This includes the Tdap vaccine, which is the best protection against the whooping cough outbreak that has struck California."

According to the California Department of Public Health, the pertussis vaccination is recommended for pregnant women in their third trimester (regardless of any previous Tdap vaccination), infants at least 6 weeks old and children and adults who are not up to date on their vaccinations or who are in regular contact with an infant. Adults should receive a Tdap booster shot every 10 years.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection, and symptoms vary by age. Children's symptoms typically start with a cough and runny nose for up to two weeks, leading to worsening coughs that end with a "whooping" sound. Adult symptoms may be a cough that persists for several weeks. Young infants may have no apparent cough but their faces may turn red or purple.

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Meijer to sponsor pharmacy technician training program

BY Michael Johnsen

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Meijer on Thursday announced that it is sponsoring the pharmacy technician adult career training program at the West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology in an effort to recruit well-trained graduates for placement in its pharmacies throughout West Michigan.

The investment also strengthens the retailer's commitment to continued education and partnership with WMCAT that offers fully-funded training in growing fields to under and unemployed adults, noted Karen Mankowski, VP pharmacy operations for the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer.

"Our goal is to provide the best service to our Meijer pharmacy customers, which truly starts with having the right people in those roles," Mankowski said. "The need for pharmacy technicians is growing tremendously, and our partnership with WMCAT will enable us to bolster our pharmacy staff so they can build patient relationships to better manage their health care needs."

Although the retailer began its sponsorship of the technician program in the 2013-14 school year, Mankowski said, the retailer has hired several WMCAT graduates over the past few years due to the quality of training they've received. The latest group of WMCAT students will graduate today, including Kena Lee, who participated in an externship at Meijer as part of her training.

"I thought Meijer was amazing. Every experience was a learning experience and I never felt like I was just there," Lee said. "I like the [retail] business, because you always having something to do and I have the feeling that I'm helping someone at the same time."

Employment of pharmacy technicians, who help licensed pharmacists formulate and dispense prescription medication, is slated to increase 20% by 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Meijer anticipates the need for the positions to continue because the population of patients is growing older and relying on more prescriptions, Mankowski said. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act may increase the number of patients seeking care. A Meijer pharmacy team member also serves on WMCAT's advisory committee to ensure the program curriculum has a strong retail component, and to better prepare those graduates for job placement with the retailer.

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Smuckers rolls out new fruit pouch

BY Ryan Chavis

ORRVILLE, Ohio — Smuckers on Thursday announced the introduction of a new on-the-go snack that allows consumers to enjoy a variety of fruit on a daily basis.

The company's new Fruit-Fulls Pure Blended Fruit comes in a 4-oz. pouch and can be enjoyed at room temperature or cold. Consumers can choose from Apple, Apple Cinnamon, Apple Strawberry and Apple Mixed Berry.

The snack is available at grocery stores nationwide for a suggested retail price of $0.99 for an individual pouch; $4.49 for a 4-pack; and $7.99 for an 8-pack.

 

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