Reminding us of another back-to-school supply kids should be getting, CVS Caremark announced Monday that all of its CVS Pharmacies and Minute Clinics will offer an all-in-one flu shot this germ season.

Earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control announced a new single immunization that would protect against both seasonal and H1N1 influenza. Last year, two separate vaccinations were required for protection against both strains. The overwhelming demand for both shots  led to some shortages and supply delays across the country.

“This year’s flu shot will be all-in-one,” CVS spokesman Michael DiAngelis told MainStreet.  “Vaccine manufacturers are not making separate vaccines for H1N1 and seasonal.”  

Last year, CVS Caremark offered the two separate vaccinations at all of their MinuteClinic, but only select CVS pharmacies. This year, the all-in-one shot will be available at all locations. CVS Pharmacy has more than 7,000 stores across the country and there are approximately 500 MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS Pharmacy stores. DiAngelis said that details on when the shots will be available will be announced within the next few weeks.

Additionally, the prescription drug provider and pharmacy chain is launching an informational campaign intended to educate consumers on the all-in-one flu shot’s necessity.

CVS Caremark’s increased awareness efforts, which include promoting the shot in stores and on both CVS Pharmacy and Minute Clinic websites, stem from a survey it conducted in early April. The study found that 59% of all respondents said they are likely to get a flu shot in 2010, and more than one-third (37%) of those who did not get a flu shot in 2009 said they are more likely to get one this year. However, while nearly two-thirds of survey respondents were aware of the CDC's advisement for a flu vaccination for anyone six months or older, only half of them said they are more likely to get a flu shot based on the recommendation.
"Our survey results demonstrate that while there is a high public awareness about flu, more work needs to be done to educate consumers on the importance of getting a flu shot every year," Dr. Troyen A. Brennan, chief medical officer for CVS Caremark said in a press release.

CVS Caremark completed the survey by conducting 3,113 interviews from April 1-5.

Back in February, the CDC’s Advisory Committee recommended that all people aged 6 months and older receive flu vaccination during the 2010-2011 flu season. The year before, the CDC only advised that children 6 months through 18 years of age and close contacts of these higher risk persons get vaccinated. The extended recommendation was a result of how hard the H1N1 virus hit the U.S. population in 2009.

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