DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreen Co.’s more than 7,100 pharmacies and 350 Take Care Clinics administered over 7.4 million seasonal flu shots and H1N1 immunizations during this past flu season.
The number of flu shots represents half of the flu immunizations administered through all of retail pharmacy and four times the number of seasonal flu shots delivered by Walgreens last season. In all, Walgreens and Take Care Clinics administered more than 5.4 million seasonal flu shots.
An overwhelming 97% of Walgreens pharmacy customers surveyed said that a convenient location was an important factor in their overall flu shot satisfaction. The same percentage felt that having hours of operation that fit with their schedules was an important factor.
“Our goal is to make it easier for people to get flu shots and a wide range of other immunizations through our expansive network of immunizing pharmacists, nurse practitioners and physician assistants,” says Walgreens executive vice president of pharmacy Kermit Crawford. “This flu season has further proved that patients appreciate and value the convenience, accessibility and affordability of community pharmacy and retail health clinics for immunizations, information and a variety of other health and wellness services.”
Industrywide, the number of pharmacist-administered seasonal flu shots grew 36% this past season, accounting for about one-tenth of the total administered across the country.
More than one in 10 people (12%) surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) received seasonal flu shots from a drug store or pharmacy.
There are now more than 100,000 pharmacists nationwide who have completed a certificate training program in pharmacy-based immunizations, notes the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).
“Pharmacy is instrumental in expanding public access to immunizations,” says APhA executive vice president and chief executive officer Tom Menighan. “When it comes to immunizations and other important health care services, pharmacies add tens of thousands of locations throughout the U.S., extended hours and a convenience that are a great complement to doctors’ offices, hospitals, public health and other health centers.”
For the 2010/11 flu season, the CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices said it will recommend a flu shot for everyone over the age of six months.
Of those who received flu shots at Walgreens and Take Care Clinics, the largest percentage were 65 and older. And nearly three in five Walgreens and Take Care flu shot customers this season were over 55. At the same time, the share of Walgreens flu shot patients age 54 and under (42%) was up six percentage points over last season.
Nearly half of Walgreens seasonal flu shot patients (44%) paid cash for their immunization this season. And since the largest percentage of patients were seniors, 34% of those who received a flu shot at Walgreens had services covered through Medicare Part B.
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