Americans will be rolling up their sleeve for a flu shot earlier this year, as drugstores begin their flu vaccine campaigns weeks before the season starts.
According to a press release issued by Rite Aid earlier this week, many of its pharmacists have already been giving the regular seasonal flu shot following advice from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that anyone who wishes to reduce the risk of getting the regular seasonal flu get a flu shot as soon as they are available.
"I hope we have to keep ordering more in," said Steve Sivak, a pharmacist for the Warren Rite Aid located at 1079 Market Street Extension in North Warren.
The Rite Aid store has received its initial shipment of the flu vaccine and has two certified immunizing pharmacists, Sivak and Pharmacy Manager Jill Martin, to administer the vaccine.
"We are good to go now," said Sivak.
Once the shot is given, a person should wait about 15 minutes before leaving the pharmacy to make sure there are no adverse side-effects or reaction, explained Sivak.
Sivak also dispelled the common misconception that receiving the flu vaccine would make you ill.
"The strain is too weak," he said.
According to the release, the cost for the flu shot at Rite Aid is $30, and many insurance plans cover the cost of the shot while most customers with Medicare will have no co-pay.
The CDC recommends that pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, those who are immunosuppressed, residents of a nursing home, those who live with or care for high risk individuals and children 6 months of age through 18-years-old and people age 50 and older should get vaccinated with the flu shot.
Symptoms of the seasonal flu include fever or chills in addition to a cough or sore throat. Other symptoms are runny nose, body aches, headaches, tiredness and may include diarrhea or vomiting.
This vaccine is for the seasonal flu virus and not H1N1, which is also referred to as swine flu.
Customers are able to either stop in the Warren Rite Aid pharmacy or schedule an appointment for a flu shot by calling 723-3248. Pharmacy hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Additional information and is available through www.riteaid.com or by calling 1-866-751-1494.
According to an article from the Associated Press, CVS Caremark Corp. made flu shots available starting Tuesday and beginning Sept. 15, the company will hold more than 9,000 "flu shot clinic events" at its stores. The article also included that CVS will give away 100,000 free seasonal flu shots to the unemployed, costing the company about $3 million.