With so much focus lately on the possibilities of a new vaccine to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, getting a seasonal flu shot might not have even crossed your mind yet. But, it is definitely that time of year again. In fact, Walgreens has flu shots already, and this year, they're taking plenty of precautions to ensure that you and your family can stay safe and be protected.
Especially in the face of a global pandemic, putting your family's health first should be top priority — and that includes getting your annual flu shot. In May, Reuters reported that 60% of adults in the United States plan to get a flu vaccine this year. To meet increased demands during this time, Walgreens has worked closely with vaccine manufacturers to ensure that flu shots are readily available and accessible to the public.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, "Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each year." It truly is your best bet in protecting yourself from influenza.
Kevin Ban, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Walgreens tells Romper via email, "We recommend our patients talk to their pharmacist or healthcare provider about what’s right for them. It takes about two weeks to develop the antibodies to fight the flu after getting your flu shot, so it’s important for patients to get it — particularly amidst the COVID-19 pandemic — to best protect themselves, their loved ones, and their communities."
Currently, Walgreens is offering flu shots daily at all of their nearly 9,100 locations across the nation. You can make an appointment to get your vaccine in the Walgreens app or online, but flu shots are also available on a walk-in basis as well.
The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months of age receive a flu vaccine. Most Walgreens stores will administer flu shots to anyone over the age of 4, but age restrictions can vary by state.
If you're concerned about venturing out into public to receive your flu vaccine during this time, it's important to note that Walgreens has implemented several safety measures to help keep patients safe. Face masks will be required for both vaccine recipients and the pharmacy team members administering the shot, while team members will also be required to don face masks as well. Glove use and proper hand hygiene procedures typical of vaccine administration will be followed.
Temperature checks and symptom screening will also be performed before your vaccine is administered. Anyone with a fever or showing signs of illness will be referred to their personal physician, and their immunization will be deferred.
Walgreens encourages patients to fill out the required immunization forms online prior to heading to the store to help decrease the amount of time you will need to be physically present in the pharmacy. In addition to a face mask, it is recommended to wear loose-fitting clothing, and you'll need to bring your photo ID and insurance information with you to the pharmacy. The flu shot is available for free with most insurance, as well as with Medicare Part B and Medicaid in certain states.
If you still need convincing that getting a flu shot is worth it, when you get your flu vaccine at Walgreens, you'll be helping provide lifesaving vaccines to kids around the world. Walgreens has also teamed up with the United Nations Foundation for the eighth consecutive year for their Get a Shot. Give a Shot. program. For every vaccine administered at Walgreens, they'll donate to the U.N. Foundation up to $2.6 million. So, when you get your flu shot at Walgreens, you're not only protecting yourself and your loved ones, but doing a bit of good for kids in need across the globe as well.