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How Flu Shots Became Big Sales Booster For Walgreen Cvs

Flu Shot FAQ with Dr. Sree

Less than four years after pharmacies like Walgreen and CVS began a lobbying blitz to convince state… regulators across the country to allow pharmacists to administer flu shots, the drugstore giants are seeing a huge increase in business and sales.

Less than four years after Walgreen and rival drugstores like CVS/Caremark Corp. began a lobbying blitz with state regulators to allow pharmacists to administer seasonal influenza shots, pharmacies are beginning to see benefits of the strategy in their bottom lines.

Earlier this week, Walgreen reported thanks in part to a 25 percent increase to 6.9 million the number of flu shots stores have administered since January of 2012. Meanwhile, CVS fourth-quarter 2012 earnings released earlier this week also benefited from increased flu vaccinations during the epidemic.

Much of the growth can be attributed to the ability of pharmacists to administer flu shots. That was generally not possible until fall of 2009 when several states issued special waivers to allow pharmacists – rather than just doctors and other health professionals – to administer seasonal and H1N1 vaccines amid fears of a pandemic.

Walgreen and CVS took advantage of the crisis to convince a growing number of state regulators that pharmacists should be allowed to have the expanded role as a way to save lives and potentially money by getting more Americans flu shots from an army of pharmacists.

From What Strains Of Influenza Does The Quadrivalent Vaccine Offer Protection

The quadrivalent vaccine has the same strains as the trivalent vaccine plus 1 additional B strain of influenza. Some facts about influenza B strains:

  • The B strain has been directly linked to epidemics that have occurred every 2 to 4 years
  • Influenza B virus represented up to 44% of circulating strains during 20012002 and 20102011
  • On average, influenza-associated hospitalization and mortality rates are higher with type B influenza than with type A
  • The impact of circulating B strains is greater in children and young adults

How To Get A Discount On Your Flu Shot

If you cant secure a free flu shot, make sure to compare prices at before choosing where to get your jab. You can find the least expensive location near youplus, youll see coupons to save on flu shots, flu medications, and other prescriptions you need to get you through cold and flu season.

If its your first time using your SingleCare card, you can use a coupon for an additional $5 off the price of the following brands..

Brand name

You can use our free flu shot coupons for the whole family. SingleCare is accepted at thousands of pharmacies including CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and more. Find a pharmacy near you that accepts SingleCare coupons here.

Read Also: Why Is Flu Season In The Winter

Egg Allergy: Important Changes

If you have an egg allergy, talk to your healthcare provider about whether the flu shot is right for you. Egg allergies used to be a reason to avoid flu shots, but newer research has indicated that even people with severe egg allergies may be able to safely get the flu vaccine under proper supervision.

Some flu vaccines are now available that aren’t grown in eggs, so the threat of a reaction for people with egg allergies is eliminated.

Everyone 6 Months And Older Should Get The Flu Shot

Flu shots now available at CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic

The flu shot is your best defence against the flu. The flu shot is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older.

It can save lives by:

  • protecting you, if you’re exposed to the virus
  • preventing you from getting very sick
  • protecting people close to you:
  • because you’re less likely to spread the virus
  • who are at higher risk of serious flu complications if they get the flu
  • reducing additional burden on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • reduce your chances of being infected with COVID-19 and the flu at the same time, which could lead to more serious complications
  • The flu shot wont protect you against COVID-19.

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    Flu Shots And Vaccinations Offered At Cvs For Those On University Health Plans On

    All members of the universitys Anthem plans and Medical Mutual plan can participate in a new vaccination program offered through CVS Health.

    This new program will make vaccinations available at $0 copay from CVS pharmacies only. Influenza vaccines will be covered in addition to the ACA Preventive Care Vaccines listed below:

    • Injectable Seasonal Influenza Vaccine
    • Injectable Seasonal Influenza Vaccine High-Dose
    • Pneumonia

    This flu vaccination benefit will extend through April 30.

    Questions about this new benefit may be sent to .

    Additional opportunities will be available on campus for benefits-eligible faculty and staff to receive flu vaccinations during the following dates and times:

    • Friday, Sept. 23, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Tinkham Veale University Center first floor conference room
    • Thursday, Oct. 13, from 7:30 to 11 a.m. in Crawford Hall, Room 209
    • Friday, Oct. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the School of Nursing Faculty/Staff Lounge and
    • During the Benefits Fair: Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 10, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Tinkham Veale University Center ballroom.

    Why The Flu Shot Is Important

    “Many people skip their flu shot thinking it doesn’t matter, but an estimated 80% of children who died from the flu did not get their flu vaccine,” says Alice Benjamin, APRN, MSN, ACNS-BC, FNP-C, a Los Angeles-based clinical nurse specialist and family nurse practitioner. “In adults, getting an annual flu shot has been shown to decrease your chances of falling seriously sick with the flu by 40% to 60%.”

    Overall, the flu shot is the most effective way to prevent yourself from getting the flu. That doesn’t mean it’s 100% effective according to CDC data from February 2020, the flu shot was about 46% effective for the 2019-20 season. But that also shouldn’t stop you from getting one.

    “Let’s acknowledge that the flu vaccine is not perfect,” says William Schaffner, MD, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “But it’s the best flu vaccine that modern science can give us. And we can do a lot of good with our pretty good vaccine.”

    By protecting you from getting sick, flu shots also help protect you from more severe health complications. For example, studies have found that heart attacks and strokes may be more likely to occur soon after you have the flu.

    “If you need another reason to get protection from a flu shot, that’s it,” Schaffner says.

    If you’re still not convinced, it may be helpful to weigh the pros and cons of getting a flu shot:

    There are a few common side effects from the flu shot injection, such as:

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    People Are Also Reading

    There is always going to be some variance in prices, but $85 as a negotiated price sounds ridiculous, he said.

    Flu shots are relatively cheap compared with most health services, but considering the tens of millions of Americans who get vaccinated each year, those prices add up.

    Health plans pass those expenses to consumers through higher premiums, economists say.

    The patient is immune from the cost, but they are the losers because eventually they pay a higher premium, said Ge Bai, an accounting and health policy professor at Johns Hopkins Universitys campus in Washington, D.C.

    Bai said the variation in payments for flu shots has nothing to do with the cost of the drug but is a result of negotiations between health plans and providers.

    Typically, health insurers reimbursements to private health providers are closely guarded secrets. The insurers argue secrecy is needed for competitive business reasons.

    But theres one place those dollar figures appear for anyone to see: the explanation of benefit forms that insurers send to members after paying a claim.

    KHN reviewed forms that one of its insurers, Cigna, paid for some colleagues to get flu shots this fall in Washington, D.C., and California.

    Cigna paid $32 to CVS for a flu shot in downtown Washington and $40 to CVS less than 10 miles away in Rockville, Md.

    Why Insurers Pay Some Facilities A Lot More

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    According to Ge Bai, an accounting and health policy professor at Johns Hopkins University, the variation in the cost of the flu shot isn’t the result of the drug itself. These prices are the result of negotiations between insurers and providers, which insurers typically treat as “closely guarded secrets,” so they can maintain a competitive market, according to Galewitz.

    When asked about the different prices for the flu shot offered at the same location, Sutter said “pricing can vary based on a number of factors, including the care setting, a patient’s insurance coverage, and agreements with insurance providers.”

    Cigna offered a similar explanation in a statement. “What a plan reimburses for a flu vaccine depends on the plan’s contracted rate with that entity, which can be affected by location, number of available pharmacies/facilities in that area , and even the size of the plan ,” Cigna said.

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    Who Should Not Get A Flu Shot

    Children younger than six months old and people with certain health conditions should not get a flu shot, the CDC advises.

    These health conditions include:

    • A severe allergic reaction to a previous flu shot. According to a 2016 study, for every one million flu shots given, there were about 1.3 severe allergic reactions, such as tongue or throat swelling, shortness of breath, or vomiting.
    • Egg allergies. Although the most common flu vaccine contains viruses grown in eggs, people with mild allergic symptoms like hives can safely get it, according to the CDC. If you have a severe allergy, two egg-free flu vaccines are available. You can also get a regular flu shot as long as it’s in a medical setting such as a doctor’s office or clinic, and is supervised by a health care provider who can treat an anaphylactic reaction.
    • A fever. If you have a fever over 99.5°F, you might want to wait to get a flu shot. Your immune system is already producing antibodies to fight infection, so the vaccine may not be as effective. However, if you have a cold with no fever, it’s safe to get a flu shot.
    • Guillain-Barré syndrome . This is a rare neurological disorder that causes your immune system to damage your nerve cells. Its exact cause is unknown, but it often develops after a respiratory illness or the flu. It is very rare to get GBS after a flu shot, according to the CDC. If you already have GBS, talk to your doctor before getting a flu shot.

    Does Medicare Cover Flu Shots
      Yes, CVS accepts Medicare for flu shots. â Does Medicare cover over 65 flu shot? Yes, under Original Medicare there is no cost for the flu shot. â What is the Medicare approved amount for a flu shot? Medicare can cover the cost of flu shots from anywhere from $0 to $40. â Does Medicare cover flu shots at Walgreens?

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    What Are The Different Types Of Flu Shots

    The CDC recommends any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine without preference for one over the otherincluding injectable vaccines and nasal spray vaccines. However, the CDC recommends that adults 65 years and older get an injectable vaccine, and high-dose formulations are available for this age group.

    Its important to note that there are two types of flu vaccinations: trivalent and quadrivalent. Trivalent vaccines protect against 2 strains of influenza A and 1 strain of influenza B, whereas quadrivalent vaccines protect against 2 strains of influenza A and 2 strains of influenza B. All of the flu vaccines in the 2021-2022 season are of the quadrivalent variety, and are safe for individuals over 6 months of age with a few exceptions.

    The Cost Of Other Vaccines

    Flu shot administration 2

    The cost of recommended vaccines varies depending on your insurance plan. If you have private insurance, you will likely get most of the recommended vaccines for free or with a small copayment.

    If you are covered by Medicare Part B, you will be able to get some vaccines for little to no cost. The included vaccines are the flu shot, pneumococcal disease vaccine, and the hepatitis B vaccine if you have a pre-existing condition. If you are covered by Medicare part D, you will be able to get the shingles vaccine and the Tdap vaccine for little to no cost.

    The cost of vaccines for adults who are covered by Medicaid varies significantly by state. If you are covered by Medicaid, you will likely access a flu shot for little to no cost. If you are not covered by insurance, the out-of-pocket cost of vaccines varies depending on the vaccine type and where you are vaccinated.

    Below we outlined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and private sector costs for some adult vaccines. Note that the prices may be highest due to additional fees at your testing location.

    Also Check: How Much Is A Flu Shot At Walgreens With Medicare

    Looking For Flu Shot Deals Read This

    I called each chain to confirm their flu shot deals and prices.

    For the latest information,

    No matter what the quoted price is, you should always ask the pharmacy about any qualifying coupons before you pay for your flu shot. Whether the pharmacy supplies you with a coupon or not, the price may not be able to beat this GoodRx coupon.

    Now lets look at what these major chains say youll pay for a flu shot at their pharmacies.

    Flu Shot Cost Comparison
      Under the Affordable Care Act, all marketplace insurance plans must cover the cost of the vaccine â although some set limitations on where free flu shots are administered. Flu shots are also free under Medicare and many other health plans. For families without health insurance, flu shots from a doctor’s office can be costly, and cheaper trivalent vaccines have all but disappeared in â¦

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    Providing A Flu Vaccine

    1. Determine which CCN region you are part of:
    • If you are located in the following U.S. states and/or territories: AL, AR, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, TN, VA, VI, VT, WI, WV, you are part of:
    • CCN Regions 1-3, administered by Optum®/CVS Caremark®. Contact Optum at 800-364-6331 if you need to confirm you are in-network.
  • If you are a retail pharmacy or urgent care provider located in one of the following U.S. states: AK, AZ, CA, CO, HI, ID, MT, NM, NV, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY:
  • You are part of CCN Regions 4-5, administered by TriWest Healthcare Alliance®/Express Scripts®. Contact TriWest at 800-922-1557 if you need to confirm you are in-network.
  • 2. Confirm the Veterans identity by checking their government-issued ID.
    3. Check to make sure they are eligible for the flu vaccine, paid for by VA. To do this:
    • Ask for the Veterans 10-digit Veteran ID number, then check their eligibility electronically.
    • If you cant check their eligibility electronically, call Optum at 888-901-6609 or TriWest at 833-483-8669 to confirm their eligibility. The system will indicate urgent care eligibility which includes flu vaccines.
    • If Veteran doesnt have or know their 10-digit Veteran ID number, ask for their Social Security Number , then call Optum at 888-901-6609 or TriWest at 833-483-8669 to confirm their eligibility. The system will indicate urgent care eligibility which includes flu vaccines.

    Regions 1-3

    People At High Risk Of Complications From The Flu

    Get More Vaccines Than Just The Flu Shot with MinuteClinic® | CVS
    • people with health conditions, such as:
    • cancer and other immune compromising conditions
    • diabetes
    • kidney disease
    • neurological or neurodevelopmental conditions
    • children up to 18 years of age undergoing treatment for long periods with acetylsalicylic acid
  • people 65 years and older
  • people who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities
  • children under 5 years of age
  • people who experience barriers in accessing health care
  • people who are at an increased risk of disease because of living conditions, such as overcrowding
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    Are You An Active Duty Or Guard/reserve Member

    Youre required to get the flu vaccine.

    • You have priority to get the vaccine at military hospitals and military clinics.
    • You can also get vaccines at participating retail network pharmacies.

    If you go to a participating network pharmacy, you won’t have any cost-shares or copayments if the flu vaccine is administered by a pharmacist. You can also go to a TRICARE-authorized provider at a participating network onsite clinic.

    If you go to a network doctor other than your primary care manager , you must get a referral from your PCM. In addition, you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for the office visit.

    When you get a flu vaccine from a participating network pharmacy, follow your Service policy guidance for recording the vaccine in your shot record. You’ll need the following information:

    • The date the vaccine was given
    • The vaccine name or code
    • Manufacturer

    Supermarkets And Big Box Stores

    Most of the country’s large grocery store chains, including Stop & Shop, Kroger, and Safeway, have pharmacies on the premises that offer free flu shots with most health insurance plans. Even stores without pharmacies may sponsor pop-up flu shot clinics on site. You can also grab a flu shot when you’re making your weekly bulk-grocery run to Sam’s Club or Costco.

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