Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG), the nation’s largest drugstore chain and an industry leader with more than 17,000 certified or licensed immunizers, today announced it is offering H1N1 vaccine at more than 1,500 Walgreens pharmacies and select Take Care Clinics in 27 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Walgreens continues to work with government agencies in the 23 other U.S. states to receive and distribute H1N1 vaccine, and to serve as a strategic distribution partner in communities nationwide. Walgreens plans to be offering H1N1 vaccine in all 50 states by the end of December.
Walgreens and Take Care Clinics had been administering H1N1 vaccine in select markets to only those within the priority groups as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However as more states, public health departments and local governments are now lifting vaccination restrictions, Walgreens is able to offer H1N1 vaccine to anyone who wants a vaccination and who meets state age requirements, in 27 states. To date, Walgreens and Take Care Clinics have administered more than 200,000 H1N1 vaccinations.
Walgreens plans to be offering H1N1 vaccine at select locations in the following states by Monday, Dec. 21: Alabama, California, Iowa, Kentucky, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin. Details regarding H1N1 vaccine arrival in other states will be announced as it becomes available.
“The upcoming holidays, with family gatherings and many people traveling, is always a time we stress the importance of a flu shot, and particularly this year with H1N1,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “Now that H1N1 vaccine is more widely available to anyone who wants to get the shot in many states, Walgreens can be counted on to provide convenient, affordable access to H1N1 vaccine as well as other health and wellness resources in thousands of communities nationwide.”
H1N1 vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis when an immunizing pharmacist is on staff, and also during scheduled flu shot clinics at select Walgreens stores. In addition, Take Care Clinics at more than 350 Walgreens stores have board-certified nurse practitioners and physician assistants who will provide vaccinations on a walk-in basis daily, pending vaccine availability. State age restrictions for those who can receive a vaccination from a Walgreens pharmacist vary by state, while Take Care Clinics can immunize children age 2 and above.
For clinic hours and for the nearest Walgreens pharmacy offering H1N1 vaccine, consumers can call 1-800-Walgreens or visit www.walgreens.com/flu. For Take Care Clinic locations offering the vaccine, consumers should visit http://www.takecarehealth.com or call 1-866-Take-Care. The cost for the administration of an H1N1 vaccination is $18. Vaccinations may be covered by insurance plans, Medicare and Medicaid. Consumers are encouraged to check with their insurance provider for coverage details.
“Our pharmacists, together with Take Care Clinic nurse practitioners and other health care professionals have been fully-dedicated to the flu prevention effort since September,” Wasson said. “We’re still early in the flu season and a majority of the population isn’t protected against H1N1. Walgreens is proud to be a government partner for H1N1 and to be playing an important role in helping individuals and families stay well and protected against H1N1.”
According to the CDC, the H1N1 virus can cause life-threatening pneumonia more commonly than seasonal flu. Additionally, pneumococcal infections have been identified as the most common complication in severe and fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 virus infection.
Walgreens offers pneumococcal vaccinations in most states, and they are also available at all Take Care Clinics. Shots are $49.99 and may be covered by insurance plans. Consumers are encouraged to check with their insurance provider for coverage details. For more information on pneumococcal vaccine and infection, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines.
Pneumococcal vaccines can be useful in preventing secondary pneumococcal infections and reducing illness and death among those infected with influenza viruses, the CDC says.
Pneumococcal vaccinations, which are covered by Medicare, are recommended for all adults over age 65. Pneumococcal vaccinations are also recommended for anyone with a chronic illness, such as heart or lung disease or diabetes, as well as for individuals with a weak immune system (caused by certain kidney diseases, some cancers, HIV infections, organ transplant medicines and other disease).