SEATTLE — Bartell Drugs this week launched a seasonal flu vaccination program for all of its stores as well as an employer program for area businesses.
The drug store chain, with 56 locations in Washington state’s Puget Sound region, said it has scheduled more than 100 in-store seasonal flu shot clinics, and many stores are offering shots by appointment or on a walk-in basis.
Vaccinations are available for adults and children ages 14 to 17, according to Bartell. The shots cost $28 each, and Medicare Part B is accepted.
Bartell added that it also will support local, state and federal health programs in the administration of the vaccine for the H1N1 "swine flu" virus when it becomes available.
"While there has been a great deal of attention focused on the H1N1 ‘swine flu’ virus, seasonal flu viruses remain a major cause of hospitalization and death each year," Bartell pharmacy district manager Wade Schutze said in a statement. "Because of the dangers and
complications it can have in the elderly, children and people with health problems, the perception of seasonal flu severity is changing."
In addition, Bartell is rolling out a flu immunization program for area businesses. The chain will offer companies what it called "turnkey" on-site flu shot clinics, in which Bartell’s trained pharmacists come to the workplace. Discounts are available depending on the number of employees.
"This is a way for businesses, large and small, to decrease sick time and lost productivity," commented Rachel Nowak, who is coordinating Bartell’s business flu clinic program. "Getting vaccinated against influenza also helps protect those around you who may be at higher risk from complications."
The flu shot initiative comes amid a round of new store openings by Bartell. On August 24, the chain opened a unit in Mill Creek, and that followed a July 20 opening of a store in Lynnwood.
And this week Bartell announced that it will open its 57th store in Issaquah on September 28. Plans for that location were unveiled late last year.