WOONSOCKET, R.I., Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week from December 4-10, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are reminding families to "vaccinate before they celebrate" the holidays and receive their annual flu shot before the flu season peaks.
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"As we head into the busy holiday season, it is important to remind people that it is not too late to receive their annual flu vaccination if they haven't already done so," said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President, CVS/pharmacy. "No one wants to be sick during the holidays and the most important way to prevent you and your family from getting sick with the flu is to get a flu shot."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu vaccinations for everyone ages 6 months and older. National Influenza Vaccination Week was established by the CDC to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination through the holiday season into January and beyond.
"The CDC reports that nearly 1 in 5 adults received their flu shot in a retail setting last year, so we are doing all we can to inform and vaccinate as many people as possible," said Tankut. "CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants have been helping people on their path to better health by providing flu vaccinations to their patients since August and will continue to do so through the holidays and into early next year."
Flu vaccinations are available at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment necessary. CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,300 locations and MinuteClinic has nearly 600 locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores.
Customers can also give the gift of good health this holiday season and purchase a CVS gift card for a loved one that can be applied against the cost of a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy.
The following are important reminders for those who have not received a flu vaccination this season:
- Flu-associated deaths in the U.S. range from 3,000 to 49,000 people annually.
- An average of 1 in 5 people can be infected with the flu annually, and more than 200,000 may be hospitalized during a flu season.
- Influenza outbreaks can occur as early as October and as late as May. As long as flu season is not over, it's not too late to get vaccinated.
- Even though the vaccine composition is the same as last year's, everyone needs to get vaccinated with this season's vaccine because immunity from the flu vaccine declines over the course of the year.
- While it is recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine, people at high risk of serious complications from influenza include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people ages 65 and older.
- Vaccination of high-risk people is especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness.
- Vaccination is also especially important for health care workers and those who live with or care for high-risk people to prevent spreading the flu to them.
For more information about National Influenza Vaccination Week, please visit www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/.
MinuteClinic flu shots are administered in a private exam room and CVS/pharmacy flu shots are conducted behind a privacy screen in the pharmacy area. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can vaccinate patients who are 18 months or older except in Massachusetts, where the minimum age is 24 months. The minimum age for vaccination by a pharmacist varies by state. Check with your local CVS/pharmacy or visit www.cvs.com/flu to determine minimum vaccination age by state. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic also offer the Fluzone® High Dose vaccine for people ages 65 and older. This higher dose vaccine is designed to provide better protection from influenza to this age group.
A flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic costs $29.99. Many health plans are accepted, including Medicare Part B and TRICARE, which may cover the full cost of a flu shot.* Customers will receive a $5 CVS gift card if their flu shot is not covered by insurance.**
*TRICARE accepted at CVS/pharmacy only
** Excludes MA, NJ & NY
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,300 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is committed to improving the lives of those we serve by making innovative and high-quality health and pharmacy services safe, affordable and easy to access, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at http://info.cvscaremark.com/.
MinuteClinic is a division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail medical clinics in the United States in 2000 and is the largest provider of retail clinics with more than 600 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. Nationally, the company has generated more than 10.5 million patient visits, with a 95% customer satisfaction rating. MinuteClinic is the first retail health care provider to receive accreditation (2006) and reaccreditation (2009) 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.
Brent Burkhardt, TBC