Chains urge flu shots during National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Dec. 2 to 8, and big-name chains are encouraging patients to stop by and get protected against the flu. Both CVS Health and Rite Aid on Monday highlighted the availability of flu shots nationwide as part of the week of awareness, which began in 2005.

After a particularly strong flu season last year, CVS Health commissioned a Harris Poll survey that found 66% of respondents saying they get a flu vaccine every year or plan to get one this year — an increase of 5% over last year.

"Flu levels are typically at their highest between December and February, and while we are seeing an increased number of vaccinations this year, it's important to remind those who have not yet gotten vaccinated that there is still time to do so," said Papatya Tankut, CVS Health vice president of pharmacy affairs. "With the flu typically spreading to many communities this time of year and people gathering for the holidays, it is especially important for families to get vaccinated to ensure they remain healthy through the holiday season and into 2019."

Rite Aid noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend flu shots for most healthy Americans age 6 months old or older, including pregnant women.

“When it comes to the flu, prevention is better than treatment, and our more than 6,000 Rite Aid certified immunizing pharmacists stand ready to help people protect themselves from the flu this year,” said Jocelyn Konrad, Rite Aid executive vice president of pharmacy. “When you get a flu shot, you’re not only protecting yourself, you’re also helping to protect the others around you from getting the flu. We encourage everyone to take this opportunity to get vaccinated from the flu and help keep our communities flu-free this year.”

Rite Aid said it is offering a quadrivalent flu vaccine, a standard trivalent flu vaccine and FLUAD, a trivalent vaccine with an adjuvant meant for patients 65 years old and older. It noted they are covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, without an appointment during pharmacy hours.

CVS Health said the flu shot is available at its more than 9,800 CVS Pharmacy stores and 1,100 MinuteClinic locations, seven days a week, with no appointment needed.