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Rite Aid stocks up to help battle the flu

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Drug chain ensures supplies of flu shots and related medicines

CAMP HILL, Pa. — As flu cases mount in one of the most severe U.S. flu seasons in the past decade, Rite Aid Corp. is ensuring that its pharmacies are well-prepared.

Rite Aid said Monday that its pharmacies are stocked with flu shots, which are available on a walk-in basis at all locations, as well as supplied with prescription medicines Tamiflu and Relenza, which help reduce influenza symptoms. The company added that Rite Aid pharmacists also are trained to compound Tamiflu for children.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the highest rate of influenza-like illnesses (ILIs) since 2009 and the highest flu hospitalization rate since 2010, when the CDC began keeping such records, Rite Aid noted. The CDC also said flu and pneumonia accounted for 10% of deaths nationwide between Jan. 28 and Feb. 3.

“With the CDC reporting that we’ve not yet reached the peak of flu season and the potential for flu activity for several more weeks, we’re following the situation closely and making every effort to have flu shots available in all of our pharmacies,” Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy Jocelyn Konrad said in a statement. “We encourage anyone who hasn’t yet received a flu shot to get one today and protect themselves and those around them for the duration of the flu season.”

Flu vaccines are covered by most insurance plans with $0 co-payment, including Medicare Part B. Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacists are available to administer flu vaccinations during pharmacy hours, subject to state regulations.

Rite Aid pharmacies also have supplies of pneumococcal shots, which can be administered at the same time as the flu shot, depending on state regulations.Since pneumonia can be a serious and deadly complication of the flu, especially for seniors, the CDC recommends the pneumococcal vaccine for people ages 65 and older. Pneumococcal shots are covered by many insurance plans, and most customers with Medicare Part B will have $0 co-pay.

In addition, Rite Aid pharmacists can advise customers on over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, cough and cold medicines and hydration products that can help manage flu symptoms. Rite Aid noted that its store shelves are also stocked with extra supplies of hand sanitizer and soaps, masks, gloves, tissues and household disinfectants to help prevent the spread of the flu virus.


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