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Pharmacists could be key to Wash. state fight against pertussis epidemic

BY Alaric DeArment

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, once was among the most feared childhood diseases and was a frequent killer of young children. Today, it’s mostly under control, a testament to the importance of vaccinations.

(THE NEWS: Pertussis cases increase tenfold in Washington over May 2011. For the full story, click here )

State authorities in Washington might want to take note as that state struggles with a serious epidemic of the disease. They’re doing what they can, but with budget cuts making the job of stanching the epidemic more challenging, this could be a good time for pharmacies and retail clinics, with their ability to provide immunizations for a low cost, to step in — to save both lives and money for the state. Walgreens already has, announcing earlier this month that it would provide the Tdap (tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis) booster vaccine at all 129 of its stores in the state in order to combat the epidemic. In February, Rite Aid announced it would make the vaccine available at more than 3,200 of its stores nationwide.

While pharmacists in every state have been able to administer vaccinations for some time, Washington has been a leader in this regard. For example, Seattle-based retail pharmacy chain Bartell Drugs has been taking advantage of state laws that allow pharmacists to administer travel vaccinations for such diseases as hepatitis B under agreements with local physicians. Washington pharmacy retailers once again may have an opportunity to provide leadership while the state’s hands are mostly tied.

According to published reports, another possible reason for the rise in pertussis cases has been parents who opt out of getting their kids vaccinated. It needs to be made clear to parents that vaccines prevent diseases, and serious complications from them are rare, while scary tales of kids developing autism and other serious diseases from vaccines have been exposed as false. As the most accessible healthcare professionals, pharmacists have an opportunity here as well, to educate parents about the importance of getting their kids vaccinated.

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Nuk introduces Freshfoods line

BY Allison Cerra

HACKENSACK, N.J. — Nuk has partnered with children’s nutrition expert and cookbook author Annabel Karmel to create a line that offers parents the necessary tools to create nutritious meals for baby at home.

Nuk said its Freshfoods product line includes cooking and storage accessories, along with step-by-step guides for cooking simple, healthy and delicious homemade meals for baby. The line includes such products as the Cook-n-Blend baby food maker, mash and serve bowl, and fill and freeze pops. The line is available at select retailers, including Walmart/Walmart.com, Target.com, Amazon.com, Meijer, H-E-B and Buy Buy Baby.

"For half a century, the Nuk brand has given babies the best start in life with products that directly impact their health, development and futures," Nuk VP marketing Walter Lehneis said. "Aligning with Annabel Karmel is a natural fit for us as we look to provide meaningful solutions for modern parents that will support the overall health of their babies now so they can enjoy a lifetime of benefits."

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Shaw’s kicks off Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway

BY Allison Cerra

WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. — Supervalu banner Shaw’s is celebrating the upcoming summer season with its Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway.

The Shaw’s Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway allows customers to collect game tickets for a chance to win their various prizes, including cars, boats, vacations, gift cards, free products and cash prizes. How it works: Customers earn a game piece with qualifying purchases each time they shop and can earn additional game pieces by using their Shaw’s rewards card and purchasing participating products in the store. Game boards also are available, while supplies last, so customers can see how close they are to winning a prize. In addition to the "collect-and-win" prizes, the giveaway also will feature instant win prizes and in-store discounts, the company said.

"Shaw’s Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway is going to provide some exciting opportunities for customers to win some life-changing prizes, including a guaranteed $1 million winner," Shaw’s president Mike Stigers said. "As we launch into the summer season, the Sizzlin’ Summer Giveaway will help us showcase our stores and products while creating a fun atmosphere for our customers and associates. In addition, it encourages our customers to earn game tickets by purchasing items important to their summer cooking and entertaining."

There is no purchase necessary to enter or win. Additional details can be found on Shaws.com/sizzlinsummer.

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