Meijer pharmacies anticipate 40 percent more flu shots this season

Meijer, a Grand Rapids, Michigan-based retailer said on Thursday that its pharmacists anticipate administering 40 percent more flu shots this season in comparison to last season.

The retailer said its walk-in services and new flu shot options are making it simpler and more appealing for families to receive their vaccinations.

"Meijer customers know that we're making it easy for them to take care of their families by offering walk-in services and a variety of immunization choices to better meet their needs," Nat Love, the vice president of Meijer Drug Store, said. "If one person in your family is sick, chances are the illness will circulate throughout your home. The flu vaccine really is your best defense for keeping your entire family healthy."

Seasonal influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that causes mild to severe illness that can result in hospitalization and death. Health experts recommend that everyone over the age of six months receive a flu vaccine as soon as its available because it takes approximately two weeks for antibodies to develop. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the seasonal flu season can start as early as October and last as late as May.

"The seasonal flu vaccine is the (number one) way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and spreading it (to) others," Love said.

Meijer pharmacies offer multiple vaccine options including shots injected in the arm, FluMist nasal spray and Fluzone HD for patients 65 and older. Meijer will also offer the new quadrivalent vaccine that covers the four major strains of influenza for individuals between the ages of five and 49.