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Retailers begin providing flu shots

Kinney Drugs, Giant and Stop & Shop are among the pharmacies providing flu shots for the 2022-2023 flu season.

Retailers, including Kinney Drugs, Giant and Stop & Shop have started to provide flu shots.

Kinney opened flu vaccination appointments in all its pharmacies in New York and Vermont. The 100% employee-owned pharmacy chain has an ample supply of vaccines for those between ages 2 to 64 years old in New York and ages 3 to 64 years old in Vermont as well as high-dose vaccines for seniors age 65 years old and older. Its pharmacists also offer several options designed to make patients more comfortable:

Buzzy the Vaccine Bee

Kinney shared that it is the only area pharmacy to offer a “comfort vaccination experience” through a partnership with Pain Care Labs. Kinney’s pharmacists have been trained in immunization comfort techniques and help take the “sting” out of shots with Buzzy the Vaccine Bee.

Buzzy is a bumble bee-shaped device that simultaneously applies ice and vibration to desensitize before the injection as well as distract and disrupt pain transmission during the poke itself for a dramatically more comfortable experience. Buzzy was designed to help adults and children who have needle fear and/or sensitivity and is only available from Kinney Drugs pharmacists. Clinically, Buzzy uses natural “gate control” pain relief by confusing the body’s own nerves, thereby dulling, or even eliminating sharp pain. When nerves receive non-painful signals such as vibration or cold, the brain “closes the gate” on pain.

[Read more: Kinney Drugs named Business of the Year]

Needle-free Vaccinations:

In select locations, Kinney offers vaccinations via PharmaJet needle-free “jet injectors,” which use a jet of air instead of a needle to administer the vaccine, making for a more comfortable vaccination experience for those with needle fear.

By request in all locations, Kinney Pharmacists can administer a nasal mist flu vaccine for those between ages 2 to 49 years old. 

“Vax the Fam” Family Appointments:

Kinney Pharmacists know that in general, children tend to need more care when receiving shots than adults do. It can be a bit scary for them. Kinney’s goal is to make pediatric vaccination appointment(s) as easy and pleasant as possible for both children and their parents and caregivers by offering “Vax the Fam” Family appointments for up to three people at once; dedicated afterschool appointments and longer appointment times to ensure that children have time to adjust and feel more comfortable; and fun distraction activities and a small, post-shot treat for children.

[Read more: Kinney Drugs provides COVID-19 booster shots]

“Australia is just coming out of its winter flu season, which can be a predictor of what we may experience here in the United States," said John Marraffa, president of Kinney Drugs. "Unfortunately, Australia was hit with a wave of flu cases that exceeded its five-year average coupled with a significant rise in COVID-19 cases, raising concerns that we may face a similar ‘twindemic’ here this fall and winter. It’s especially important that people protect themselves with an annual flu shot (and COVID booster if indicated). I am very proud that our pharmacy teams are prepared with ample vaccine and more comfortable vaccination options.” 

Giant announced that it is providing flu vaccinations at all 133 Giant and Martin’s in-store pharmacies.

“The most effective way to fight the flu is by getting your annual flu shot,” said Leigh Shirley, director of pharmacy operations, Giant. “As the flu virus changes, flu vaccinations are reformulated every year so it’s important for your entire family to get them, especially older adults and young children. Our pharmacies also offer the COVID-19 vaccine and booster doses, which can be administered at the same time as a flu shot.”

Giant and Martin's pharmacies offer several types of flu shots for children, adults and seniors. Most insurance plans cover flu shots at $0 copays, including Medicare Part B. No appointment is needed.

Beginning Sept. 16 and running through Oct. 8, select Giant and Martin's pharmacies will again offer drive-up flu vaccinations where patients can pull into a spot in the designated area of the store parking lot and be vaccinated without leaving their car. 

Stop & Shop is offering flu shots at its more than 200 pharmacy locations across the Northeast. In addition to flu shots, Stop & Shop is now offering the updated Omicron variant COVID-19 boosters. Customers can receive immunizations for both the flu and COVID-19 at once, as the CDC has indicated that these vaccines may be administered alongside one another.

Stop & Shop offers several types of flu vaccines, and its licensed, trained and trusted pharmacists can help each patient select the type that is best for them to address any concerns about allergies, preservatives or potential adverse effects. In addition to flu shots, customers aged 5 and older in need of a COVID-19 vaccine or booster can receive both the flu and COVID-19 vaccine at once with no need for a waiting period. Stop & Shop pharmacies have an ample supply of no-cost Pfizer, Moderna, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines for eligible patients, as well as updated Pfizer and updated Moderna boosters. 

“Stop & Shop’s Pharmacies are ready to continue our longstanding mission of taking care of our communities this flu season,” Katie Thornell, director of Pharmacy at Stop & Shop said.  “We are well-stocked and offer same-day immunizations, either with an appointment or on a walk-in basis. While prices associated with vaccinations are dependent upon customers’ insurance plans, most flu shots end up being low or no-cost, while COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are provided at no cost. Stop & Shop aims to make it easy for everyone to get the care they need to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy this fall.”

Stop & Shop said that it takes extensive health and safety precautions at its pharmacies and has secured additional stock of the flu vaccine, anticipating higher demand because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

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