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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Despite an increase in flu activity, a recent CVS/pharmacy survey showed that 56% of respondents still had not received their flu shot, although 93% were aware that there already have been reported cases of the flu this season, the pharmacy retailer stated.
Flu activity steadily is increasing in the United States, with eight states now having reported widespread outbreaks of influenza cases, according CVS/pharmacy, which cited the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
According to the CDC, the month with the highest percentage of flu cases (nearly 50%) is February. Yet many consumers are unaware that the highest risk month is just ahead. The CVS/pharmacy Flu Review survey revealed that 32% of respondents thought the flu season peaked in November and December, and more than one-third (37%) incorrectly believed getting the flu shot can give you the flu, when, in fact, the injectable influenza vaccination contains inactive viruses that cannot give you the flu.
"If you haven't already received a flu shot, it's not too late," stated Papatya Tankut, VP pharmacy professional services at CVS/pharmacy. "Since the vaccine takes up to two weeks to become effective, it's important to act now so you'll be protected in February, when most flu cases are generally reported."
Licensed pharmacists are available to vaccinate at all 7,100 CVS/pharmacy stores, and flu shots can be scheduled in store or by using the online flu shot scheduler at CVS.com/flu. At more than 500 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics located inside select CVS/pharmacy stores in 26 states and the District of Columbia, flu vaccines are available on demand without an appointment, and are administered daily by nurse practitioners and physician assistants.
This year, only one vaccine is required for protection against three influenza strains, including the H1N1 virus and the seasonal H3N2 virus. The CDC is recommending for the first time that anyone ages 6 months or older get a flu shot.
MinuteClinic nurse practitioners can vaccinate patients who are 18 months or older, except in Massachusetts where the minimum age is 24 months of age. All CVS/pharmacy stores can issue flu shots to parties 18 years of age and up. For parties younger than 18 years, the minimum age for vaccinations by a pharmacist varies by state.