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Walgreens has announced its commitment to getting ahead of an early and condensed flu season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walgreens announced today that nearly all of its 9100 pharmacies are now offering flu vaccinations on a daily basis with pandemic safety measures in place.
The announcement follows recommendations from the CDC that urged everyone over the age of 6 months to receive a flu vaccine amid the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Production of the influenza vaccine in the United States has surged in response to projections of an early and condensed flu season due to the pandemic.
With 78% of the US population living within 5 miles of a Walgreens store, Walgreens is effectively providing ease of access to the flu shot for many Americans who lack reliable access to health care.
The flu vaccine is free with most insurance programs and for patients with Medicare Part B and Medicaid in certain states.
Customers interested in receiving the flu vaccine at their local Walgreens pharmacy can complete the necessary paperwork online to save time at the counter; walk-ins are welcome, but patients also have the option to schedule an appointment ahead of time.
Walgreens has also implemented taken action to meet or exceed CDC guidelines for businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers should social distance in line and where possible in the store, and wear facemasks while inside the store. Anyone not wearing a mask will be provided one prior to receiving their flu vaccine.
A pharmacy team member will also be taking patients’ temperatures and screening for symptoms of illness; those exhibiting symptoms will have to wait to receive the vaccine until after their illness improves.
Walgreens’ proactive measures are designed to help ease the strain on the health care system in many communities.
“The convergence of COVID-19 and flu season means that flu vaccinations are critical to reduce the overall burden of respiratory illnesses on the healthcare system and help protect communities,” said Kevin Ban, MD, chief medical officer, Walgreens. “Getting your flu shot at Walgreens is one more thing we know everyone can do to help keep themselves and their loved ones healthy, in addition to social distancing, thorough hand washing and wearing face coverings.”