CVS Caremark Corp. has kicked off its annual flu shot program, with immunizations now available nationwide at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.


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CVS, MinuteClinic begin offering flu shots

August 23rd, 2010
With the My Flu Shot Scheduler tool, CVS is enabling customers to make flu vaccine appointments online.

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – CVS Caremark Corp. has kicked off its annual flu shot program, with immunizations now available nationwide at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.

This year, customers for the first time will be able to make an appointment to receive a flu vaccine from a CVS pharmacist at the time, date and location of their choice by using My Flu Shot Scheduler, a new online tool on the CVS web site at www.cvs.com/flu.

The company said Monday that My Flu Shot Scheduler offers "unparalleled access" to flu vaccinations by enabling consumers to make flu shot appointments with a CVS pharmacist based on their ZIP code, city or town, as well as the number of people who want to be vaccinated. Also, the online scheduler will identify the times and dates of CVS/pharmacy walk-in flu clinics.

And when customers visit the flu shot site, they also can access a "fight the flu" resource center with information about staying healthy during flu season, frequently asked questions, and links to health videos with CVS pharmacists and recommended over-the-counter cold and flu remedies. My Flu Shot Scheduler is available by calling a toll-free number (1-888-FLU-SHOT) as well.

CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,000 locations across the country, and MinuteClinic has more than 500 locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores.

A flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic costs $29.95. The company said CVS ExtraCare cardholders who get a flu immunization at CVS drug store or MinuteClinic will also receive a one-time 10% discount on nonpharmacy purchases up to $100 at CVS/pharmacy.

CVS Caremark noted that the vaccine for the upcoming flu season protects against three influenza strains, including the H1N1 virus and the seasonal H3N2 virus, and that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that anyone age 6 months or older get a flu shot, an expansion from last year's recommendation that certain risk groups be vaccinated.

"With this year's 'all-in-one' flu vaccine and the CDC's recommendation that everyone be vaccinated against influenza, it is more important than ever that customers be provided with convenient access to a flu shot," Troy Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "Through our 'Flu Shots Your Way' campaign, consumers can make an appointment for a flu shot or take advantage of a walk-in flu clinic at their local CVS/pharmacy, or visit a MinuteClinic for a flu shot any day of the week with no appointment needed."

According to CVS Caremark, a flu shot can reduce the chance of becoming infected by influenza by up to 70% and, because it takes about two weeks to achieve full immunization after being vaccinated, it's recommended that people get a flu vaccination as early as possible.

"The best protection against the flu is a flu shot. Even if you received the H1N1 vaccine earlier this year, you should still receive this year's all-in-one seasonal flu shot," commented Paulette Thabault, chief nurse practitioner officer for MinuteClinic. "Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness, so getting a flu shot is an effective way to protect both yourself and those around you."

Papatya Tankut, vice president of pharmacy professional services for CVS/pharmacy, added that customers with any questions or concerns about the flu can consult with the company's pharmacists. "If you do catch a cold or the flu, CVS pharmacists are available to help you find the right products to treat your symptoms," she stated.

Last month, CVS Caremark reported that a recent survey of more than 3,100 consumers by CVS/pharmacy found that 59% of respondents are likely to get a flu shot in 2010, and 37% of those who didn't get one last year are more likely to get one this year.

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