Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG), the nation’s largest retail provider of flu immunization services, today announced details of the most comprehensive flu shot program in the U.S.
Walgreens is offering unprecedented access to flu shots, with immunizations now available at every Walgreens pharmacy and Take Care Clinic nationwide, every day, during nearly all pharmacy and clinic hours – with no appointment necessary. Most New York City-area Duane Reade pharmacies are also now offering flu shots daily, with all Duane Reade stores expected to be offering them during all pharmacy hours by September. State, age and health condition-related restrictions may apply.
Only one flu shot is required this season, as the 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against H1N1 as well as two other seasonal flu viruses – an influenza B and H3N2 virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone over the age of six months.
“We encourage everyone to follow the CDC’s recommendations, and with flu shots available during nearly all pharmacy and clinic hours at Walgreens, it’s never been easier, never more convenient and never more accessible,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. “Our expansive network of 25,000 immunizers and other health care professionals are there when you need us. By providing quality, affordable, preventive health care services like flu shots in communities across America, we’ll again play an important role in helping people stay well throughout the flu season.”
Direct Medical Billing and Other Enhancements New This Season
Walgreens is offering a new, direct medical billing option through several insurance carriers, including national agreements with UnitedHealthcare and CIGNA. The option allows patients with these and other select plans to have a flu shot seamlessly billed to their insurance provider.
Regionally, Walgreens offers direct medical billing through SummaCare in Ohio, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Walgreens currently offers these billing options through Walgreens pharmacies and Take Care Clinics.
Other features and services new to this season’s Walgreens flu shot program include:
- Individual privacy areas – privacy screens provide more personal privacy within the pharmacy setting for flu shot patients, immunizations and other patient care services.
- Evening and weekend hours – for the first time flu shots are available during nearly all pharmacy and clinic hours daily; walk-ins are welcome.
- Online tools – flu shot forms are available online at www.walgreens.com/flu as a timesaving tool, enabling patients to complete necessary forms prior to visiting the pharmacy (not available for vaccinations administered at Take Care Clinics or Duane Reade pharmacies).
The retail cash price for flu shots at all Walgreens points of care is $29.99. Most Walgreens will also offer the FluMist Intranasal Spray, which is $34.99. Fluzone HD, a high-dose influenza vaccine, may also be available to qualified individuals.
Flu shots are covered by Medicare Part B, as well as by Medicaid in most states and by a number of insurance plans. Patients should check with their local Walgreens pharmacy or their insurance provider for coverage details. For Walgreens store locations and pharmacy hours, call 1-800-WALGREENS or visit www.walgreens.com/flu; for Duane Reade store locations and information visit www.duanereade.com; and for the nearest Take Care Clinic visit www.takecarehealth.com.
Take Care Clinics, located at more than 350 Walgreens stores, have board-certified nurse practitioners or physician assistants on staff seven days a week to administer shots and other vaccines such as PPV (pneumonia). Take Care nurse practitioners and physician assistants can provide flu shots to anyone 2 years of age or older.
“The CDC expects the 2009 H1N1 virus to cause illness again this upcoming season along with other seasonal flu viruses, and a shot now protects you all season long,” said Sandra Festa Ryan, CPNP, FAANP and chief nurse practitioner officer for Take Care Health Systems. “An annual flu shot is simply the best way to protect you and your loved ones from the seasonal and H1N1 flu viruses and their complications.”
Flu Shot Gift Cards Now Available
Walgreens is offering flu shot gift cards as a way to help more Americans stay well by giving the gift of a flu shot. Flu shot gift cards are available at all Walgreens stores nationwide and online at www.walgreens.com. The cards cost $29.99 and are good for one flu shot at any Walgreens pharmacy or Take Care Clinic. Certain restrictions apply, see card for details.
Honored for Excellence
Walgreens, which administered more than 7 million seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccinations last season, received an Immunization Excellence award earlier this year from the National Influenza Vaccine Summit. The award honored Walgreens for its role in last season’s inoculation effort. The Summit is co-sponsored by the American Medical Association and the CDC.