Major drug stores ramp up flu vaccine availability

While seasonal flu shots are already available in many local pharmacies across the country, retail pharmacy chains have begun changing their marketing plans to include new recommendations by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

Officials with both Walgreens and CVS have announced they have expanded the number of sites that offer flu vaccines, CIDRAP News reports.

Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer of CVS Caremark, announced that, as part of the launch of its seasonal flu campaign, that every CVS pharmacy and MinuteClinic location will be able to administer flu vaccinations this season, according to CIDRAP News.

Walgreens has also announced that flu shots will be administered at all of its pharmacies and Take Care clinics. In early August, Rite Aid began accepting reservations for the seasonal flu vaccine at 3,000 of its pharmacies, noting it will add immunizations at 800 more sites in October and November.

Collectively, the three retail chains have approximately 23,300 locations across the U.S.

In February, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended seasonal flu immunizations for everyone except infants younger than six months of age. CDC officials claimed that expanding the recommendation addressed two issues – that flu complications can occur even in healthy people and that many adults with diabetes and asthma don't consider themselves at increased risk.

Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson told CIDRAP News that the company, which administered 7 million seasonal and pandemic flu shots last season, is urging all residents to follow the CDC recommendations.

“It's never been more convenient and never more accessible,” Wasson told CIDRAP News.