Rite Aid’s KidsCents will offer free flu shots to children.
Flu season is here, and with flu season comes a flurry of vaccination campaigns at pharmacies across the country. One of these campaigns aims to one group especially hard hit by flu-related complications every year: children in low-income families.
The CDC estimates that flu epidemics cause between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations every year and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths. The CDC’s latest estimates (from the 2015-2016 season) show that flu vaccinations saved between 71,000 flu-related hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths.
Data from the CDC show that populations under the poverty level are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized for flu-related problems. Children under the age of 5 are more likely to develop flu-related complications. Lower rates of vaccination in lower income areas account for some of this difference, the CDC says. Because of this, the CDC recommends efforts from health-care providers to try to reduce discrepancies in vaccine availability.
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To help combat this problem, Rite Aid announced the launch of KidCents Mobile Flu Clinic. The mobile clinic will visit locations served by Rite Aid’s KidCents charities and deliver free flu shots to children served by the charity. The clinic will also provide free flu shots to immediate family members, as well as to staff and volunteers at the charity.
"Each year, millions of children get sick with the flu, a virus that can be especially tough on children," said Tracy Henderson, Director of The Rite Aid Foundation and Charitable Giving Initiatives in a statement. "Since a flu shot is the single best way to prevent the flu, we're making it easier than ever for kids and their families to fight the flu by bringing the KidCents Mobile Flu Clinic to town."
The mobile clinic began its 3-week tour on Friday in Pittsburgh and will visit eight locations in all, from The Hearing and Speech Agency in Baltimore to the Children’s Home Society of Washington in Seattle.
In addition to providing vaccinations, charities visited by the mobile clinics will receive a $10,000 KidCents grant.