The 2012-‘13 flu season, which arrived in September and peaked in late December just in time for the winter holidays, serves as a telling reminder that an annual flu shot is the best defense against the unpredictable impact of influenza. To help customers stay well this season, annual flu shots are now available at all Walgreens (NYSE: WAG) (Nasdaq: WAG) pharmacies, Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies in New York. Flu shots are available daily during all pharmacy and clinic hours, including nights, overnights at 24-hour pharmacy locations, weekends and holidays 1, with no appointment necessary. Age restrictions vary by state at Walgreens pharmacies, while Healthcare Clinics at select Walgreens can provide immunizations for patients age 2 and older. Flu shots are covered for eligible patients under Medicare Part B as well as most insurance plans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months as soon as the vaccine becomes available. “Last season demonstrated why it’s important to protect yourself early, as the influenza virus is always unpredictable in when, where and how widely it may spread,” said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “During a very active flu season, our pharmacists and Healthcare Clinic nurse practitioners, who are trained to provide immunizations, delivered more than 7 million flu shots to our customers. This season, by offering flu shots when it’s most convenient for our customers, we’ll again play an integral role in helping more people get, stay and live well.” Flu shots are offered on a walk-in basis, and those interested in appointments can schedule one online for any Walgreens or Healthcare Clinic by visiting www.walgreens.com or www.walgreens.com/clinic. All Walgreens points of care this season offer a standard seasonal flu vaccine, as well as FluMist, a needle-free nasal alternative; Fluzone HD, a high-dose influenza vaccine for those over age 65; Fluarix, a quadrivalent (protects against four strains of influenza) vaccine; and Flucelvax, a cell-based vaccine which is expected to be available in late September.
According to the CDC, the 2012-‘13 flu season resulted in more adult hospitalizations than most flu seasons. Older adults were among those more significantly impacted, as those aged 65 and older accounted for more than half of all reported flu-related hospitalizations last season - the highest percentage reported since the CDC began collecting data on hospitalizations from flu in 2005-’06.About Walgreens As the nation's largest drugstore chain with Fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens ( www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,105 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers, provider practices, and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country. 1 While immunizing health professional is on duty. Subject to availability. State, age and health-related restrictions apply. See pharmacy for details.