Albertsons pharmacies intros child vaccination services
Albertsons pharmacies nationwide are stepping up to fill a gap in child wellness services created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Children typically receive important immunizations,including the annual flu vaccine at regular well-child visits with their primary care physician. Due to challenges posed by the pandemic, those visits have decreased. With the support of a declaration by the Department of Health and Human Services, Albertsons pharmacies are expanding their immunization practice to serve children as young as three years old.
“COVID has disrupted normal life in so many ways,” said Brian Hille, vice president of patient care services and specialty. “Another consequence is the difficulty in making routine well-child appointments, which threatens to decrease child vaccination rates. Our pharmacy teams are dedicated to the health and wellness of the communities they serve and are ready to provide this important health protection to a precious population – our children.”
Prior to administering a vaccine, an Albertsons pharmacist will review the child’s vaccine history through the state’s immunization registry. All doses that are administered will be reported to the child’s primary care provider and the state registry. The pharmacist also will ensure that the child’s parent or guardian understands that a well-child visit is still an important aspect of preventative care.
No appointment is necessary for this new service. Flu and other vaccines can be administered on a “walk-in” basis at more than 1,700 Albertsons pharmacy locations, including those in Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco, Shaw's, Acme, Tom Thumb, Randalls, United Supermarkets, Pavilions, Star Market, Haggen, and Carrs stores.
Preventing against influenza during the COVID-19 pandemic is especially important – both to avoid getting other infections at the same time and reducing the burden on an already strained health care system.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging flu and other vaccinations this year to stay healthy and minimize the strain on our national health systems. The flu is a contagious disease that typically spreads in the United States between October and May through coughing, sneezing, and close contact.
People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, and individuals ages 65 and up.
Albertsons pharmacies have taken heightened precautions to help keep patients who visit the pharmacy safe and protected while they pick up their prescriptions, receive immunizations, or consult with a pharmacist:
- Customers are required to wear masks in Albertsons stores
- Pharmacy staff all wear masks, gloves, and have Plexiglas dividers at the pharmacy counter
- Wellness rooms are regularly sanitized and cleaned in between patients
- Social distancing signs mark waiting areas, with hand sanitizer available at all touch points
- Flu vaccine recipients will be pre-screened for COVID-19 symptoms
In addition, Albertsons pharmacists are available to help consult with patients about their specific health conditions and recommend the appropriate formulation of flu vaccine for each member of their family.
Albertsons also is offering organizations flu clinics on-site to ensure all employees have access to the flu vaccine.
The flu shot is free with most insurance plans, so there is usually no co-payment unless required by the plan. Everyone who receives an immunization will also receive a coupon for 10% off their next grocery purchase, where permitted by law.