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Kinney Drugs set to launch flu, pneumonia clinics

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GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. — Later this month Kinney Drugs plans to begin holding clinics for seasonal flu and pneumonia shots in all of its retail pharmacy outlets.

The drug store chain, with 90 locations in upstate New York and Vermont, said this week that it will start offering the vaccinations on September 28.

The flu and pneumonia immunizations will be free for customers with Medicare Part B, and most insurance programs are accepted, according to Kinney. The shots will be administered by registered nurses employed by Maxim Health Systems.

Also to help customers prepare for flu season, Kinney said all of its stores will display near the pharmacy area a selection of products and free educational materials to help prevent the spread of the seasonal flu and items to help relieve flu symptoms.

The chain added that it also will steer customers to its pharmacists to answer questions about the seasonal flu and the H1N1 "swine flu" viruses.

"We want to do our part to help people stay healthy during flu season by offering convenient locations and multiple clinics to receive their vaccination," Kinney president and chief operating officer Bridget-ann Hart said in a statement.

Amid mounting public concern about a rough flu season and a cavalcade of immunization program announcements by national drug chains, supermarket retailers and discounters, regional drug chains have stayed in the thick of things by bolstering their identities as health care destinations.

Kerr Drug, for example, is training additional pharmacists to administer flu vaccines in its 90 locations across North Carolina. The chain said its certified immunizing pharmacists also are slated to administer seasonal flu shots in tandem with the H1N1 vaccine starting in mid- to late October.

And Seattle-based Bartell Drugs late last month rolled out a seasonal flu vaccination program for all of its stores along with an employer program for area businesses, in which its trained pharmacists will give shots on-site at the workplace.

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