Availability of H1N1 vaccine growing at CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinicMinuteClinic, in select CVS/pharmacy stores, restocking seasonal flu shotsWOONSOCKET, R.I., Dec 16, 2009 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic health care centers located in select CVS/pharmacy stores are now offering H1N1 vaccine in 20 states and Washington, D.C. While in some locations priority restrictions for receiving H1N1 vaccines continue, many states have lifted restrictions, allowing all patients to be eligible to receive the shot while supplies last. In addition, seasonal influenza vaccine has been restocked and is available at MinuteClinic locations across the country on demand seven days a week.
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"Since early fall and the beginning of flu season, we have been urging all Americans to protect themselves and the people they care for by getting a flu vaccine," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark. "It's not too late to get vaccinated and receive protection against both seasonal and H1N1 influenza. As the H1N1 vaccine becomes available in greater numbers, priority groups and others will be able to obtain it more easily."
Separate vaccinations are needed for H1N1 flu virus and seasonal influenza. Patients are able to get both vaccinations in a single visit where available. Information on H1N1 vaccine supply at CVS/pharmacy can be found at www.cvs.com; both H1N1 and seasonal influenza vaccine supply at MinuteClinic locations is updated daily at www.minuteclinic.com. Based on high demand, H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine availability cannot be guaranteed at time of visit.
Currently, H1N1 vaccine is being offered at select CVS/pharmacy locations in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, North Carolina, Texas and the District of Columbia and at MinuteClinic locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are actively engaged in partnership with additional states and expect that availability of H1N1 vaccine will expand to other areas as supply becomes available.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages everyone to get a seasonal flu vaccination and especially those at highest risk including: young children; people ages 50 and older; those with chronic disease such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease; pregnant women; and those who care for or live with people that are most susceptible to the flu and its complications. Patients who fall within the priority groups identified by the CDC for H1N1 flu vaccine include: pregnant women, individuals 6 months through 24 years of age, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age, health care and emergency medical services personnel, and persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions that are associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza such as asthma and diabetes.
According to the CDC, 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths result each year from seasonal flu alone. In addition, in 2009, 47 million Americans (or approximately one in six) have already had H1N1 flu. While H1N1 flu is currently active nationwide, seasonal flu typically does not reach its peak in the U.S. until January or February and can occur as late as May.
CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic practitioners are able to answer patients' questions about seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu virus, treatment and prevention, influenza warning signs, and the availability of antiviral medication and over the counter products to relieve symptoms. Common seasonal flu symptoms include fever, headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose and muscle ache. The H1N1 virus has many of the same symptoms as seasonal flu with some reports of additional symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
CVS/pharmacy is the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS). The Company operates more than 7,000 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drugs stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to providing expert care and innovative solutions in pharmacy and health care that are effective and easy for our customers, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at www.cvscaremark.com.
Minneapolis-based MinuteClinic is a subsidiary of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the No. 1 provider of prescriptions and related health care services in the nation. MinuteClinic launched the first retail health care centers in the United States in 2000 and is the first provider to establish a national presence with about 500 locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to consumer demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. The company has generated more than 6 million patient visits, with a 95 percent customer satisfaction rating. A recognized leader in the patient-centric health care movement, MinuteClinic consistently brings innovation to the marketplace and sets new standards for clinical quality that exceed the national guidelines established for store-based clinics by the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com.
Carolyn Castel Mike DeAngelis Brent Burkhardt
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SOURCE CVS Caremark