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Rite Aid expands rollout of H1N1 vaccines
December 23rd, 2009
CAMP HILL, Pa. – Rite Aid Corp. has made H1N1 vaccine available in most of the states where it has stores and is working to provide it across its operating area, possibly by the month's end or sooner.
A Rite Aid spokeswoman said that as of Tuesday the drug store chain was offering H1N1 immunizations in 16 states and expected that to expand to 19 or 20 states within several days.
Also, Rite Aid potentially could have the vaccine available in all of the 31 states where it operates, including the District of Columbia, as early as next week, depending on the release of a mass quantity of the vaccination by the federal government, she added.
Two Rite Aid stores in Lane County, Oregon, were the chain's first to begin offering H1N1 immunizations, receiving doses of the nasal spray form in early October, according to the spokeswoman.
In addition, Rite Aid has received a resupply of seasonal flu vaccine. The spokeswoman said the new shipment was primarily the remainder of the order that the chain placed back in the spring, which ended up being delayed when the manufacturer shifted its focus to producing H1N1 vaccinations.
Rite Aid kicked off its flu shot program in September, with some 2,000 certified immunizing pharmacists in more than 1,500 of its stores mobilized to provide seasonal flu vaccinations throughout the flu season. The chain also offered seasonal flu vaccines at scheduled clinics in more than 1,800 stores.
In a conference call last week on Rite Aid's third-quarter results, chairman and chief executive officer Mary Sammons noted that demand for flu shots skyrocketed this year.
"Our nearly 2,000 immunizing pharmacists were busy during the quarter, administering 84% more flu shots than last year, with heavy demand that started early in September, slowing only because of a nationwide shortage of regular flu vaccine by the second half of October," Sammons said. "We've received a substantial number of doses since then, so if demand for regular flu vaccine picks up after the holidays, we're ready."