CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic Encourage Americans to Protect Themselves Early with a Seasonal Flu Shot
WOONSOCKET, R.I. (August 31, 2009) /PRNewswire/ - CVS/pharmacy, the nation's leading retail pharmacy, and MinuteClinic, the largest retail health care clinic provider in the U.S., today announced the availability of seasonal flu vaccinations and urged Americans to protect themselves early against the flu. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are divisions of CVS Caremark (NYSE: CVS), the largest provider of prescriptions in the country.
Beginning September 1st, seasonal flu shots will be available daily without an appointment at more than 500 MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores. Most MinuteClinic locations are open seven days a week and offer evening hours. MinuteClinic will offer vaccinations to adults and children over 18 months. And starting September 15th, more than 9,000 flu shot clinic events will be held in select CVS/pharmacy stores nationwide. Consumers can call 1-888-FLU-SHOT or go to www.cvs.com to find a list of vaccination locations.
The vaccine offered by CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic will protect against the seasonal flu. Vaccinations are covered by most insurance plans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages getting a seasonal flu vaccination as soon as it is available. Yearly seasonal flu vaccinations are recommended especially for those at highest risk: 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. According to the CDC, 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths result each year from seasonal flu alone.
A new study from CVS Caremark found that more than 50 percent of those surveyed did not receive a flu shot in the past year. The 2009 CVS Caremark Health IQ study reports that misperceptions about the risk of becoming ill from the shot were a leading reason, with over one-third believing the flu shot can make you sick. The study also revealed that young people are least likely to get vaccinated, with only 33% of those age 20-34 reporting they got a flu shot last year, compared to 72% of seniors age 65 and older.
"Flu shots save lives and they prevent the illness that flu brings to millions of us every year. The fact that so many Americans still choose not to get a flu shot means that we in the health care field have work to do when it comes to educating Americans on the value of flu shots," said Troyen A. Brennan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for CVS Caremark. "A flu shot can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in medical care costs and prevents the aches, chills, fever and more serious complications of flu."
This year, epidemiologists are also bracing for the full impact of the H1N1 flu virus. So far this year, H1N1 has caused approximately 8,500 hospitalizations and more than 550 deaths in the U.S. A new vaccine against the novel H1N1 virus is in production and will be available in the coming months.
"If you're not protected with a seasonal flu shot, you risk getting sick," said Donna Haugland, FNP, Chief Nursing Officer for MinuteClinic. "Individuals need to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves, but their families, friends and members of the community at large."
Along with an annual flu vaccine Haugland recommends the following healthy habits that everyone can follow to avoid the spread of germs this flu season:
- Frequently wash hands with soap and water, or an alcohol-based cleanser
- Refrain from touching the eyes, nose or mouth - the virus can only be caught in the membranes of these body parts
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze and dispose it in the trash
- Cough into your elbow or tissue
- Avoid contact with people affected with cold and flu
- Use a germ-killing disinfectant to clean surfaces
- Stay home from school or work if you become infected with the flu
"Prevention is always the first step, but should you come down with the cold or flu CVS pharmacists can help find the right products for your symptoms," said Papatya Tankut, R.Ph, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Services for CVS Caremark.
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's largest retail pharmacy. The Company operates more than 6,900 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. 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 4 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.
CVS Caremark commissioned the 2009 CVS Caremark Health IQ Study in April of 2009 among consumers in order to gain insight on behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs surrounding health care in general and prescription usage. An internet based study was conducted among 2,000 consumers who report taking at least one maintenance medication. The study was conducted by Cooper Research, Inc, a health care research company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.