NEW YORK — Duane Reade has begun providing H1N1 vaccinations via flu shot clinics at several locations in New York City.
The drug store chain said Monday that H1N1 flu shot clinics are set up at five high-traffic Duane Reade locations in Manhattan, and the inoculations will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Duane Reade added that more of its pharmacy locations throughout the city’s five boroughs will offer the vaccine for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, upon request when a certified immunizing pharmacist is available.
The chain had announced late last week that it planned to launch its H1N1 vaccination program once the New York City Department of Health released the vaccine. The retailer has 250-plus drug stores in the region, including more than 200 in city’s boroughs.
"As the largest drug store chain in New York City, we are proud to partner with the city’s health officials to fulfill this important public service of providing the H1N1 vaccine," Frank Scorpiniti, senior vice president of pharmacy operations, said in a statement.
"A great deal of thought and months of planning and organization have gone into launching this program. We are proud of our pharmacists and the way our organization has come together. We look forward to playing a pivotal role in helping New Yorkers remain healthy during this year’s flu season and beyond."
The vaccines cost $20. Duane Reade is urging customers to visit its web site at www.duanereade.com/FluShots.aspx for the latest information on the H1N1 immunizations and store locations where they can receive the vaccination. Customers also can call the customer-service hotline at 1-866-DR-LOYAL or sign up to receive mobile alerts on Duane Reade stores where the vaccine will be available. For the mobile alerts, users text "flu" to 63103 and follow the instructions when prompted.
Last December, New York became one of the most recent states to enact laws and regulations permitting pharmacists to administer vaccines, according to Duane Reade. To prepare for the H1N1 immunization program, the chain worked with the American Pharmacists Association to certify a large number of its pharmacists to administer the H1N1 vaccine. The retailer said all of its pharmacists are qualified to consult patients and answer questions about the treatment and prevention of the H1N1 virus and seasonal flu, as well as to discuss flu warning signs and the proper use of antiviral medications and over-the-counter products to treat flu or relieve its symptoms.
Duane Reade noted that its stores also are well-stocked with seasonal flu supplies such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers and rubs, thermometers, masks and other flu-related items, as well as the antiviral medications Tamiflu and Relenza. In collaboration with New York City health officials, the pharmacy chain said it will offer Tamiflu and Relenza at lower costs to customers who are uninsured or underinsured.
*Editor’s Note: This article was updated with information on the H1N1 vaccine rollout.