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Flu Shots Available At Cvs Pharmacies In Western Massachusetts

Flu shots offered at hundreds of CVS locations

CHICOPEE, Mass. Massachusetts residents can now get their flu shot for free at more than 400 CVS locations and 65 MinuteClinics across the state.

The impact of COVID-19 is significantly influencing the likelihood that people will get a flu shot this year. According to a survey done by CVS, 66% of people said they intend to get a flu shot, an increase from 34% from this past January.

Health workers are recommending to get the flu shot well before peak season in late December and January.

Keep in mind, it takes two weeks for your body to build antibodies for the flu so its better to get it early and be protected than to be in a situation where youve already been exposed and havent had the shot.

Judith Pare, Massachusetts Nurses Association

The CDC estimated last year up to 740,000 patients were hospitalized from the flu so pharmacists say if more people get the flu vaccine this year, it will free up beds in hospitals that can be used for COVID-19 patients.

The flu shot is open to anyone age 9 or older. Patients may schedule an immunization appointment with a MinuteClinic provider at, or check the website to see if walk-in appointments are available in your area. Walk-in appointments are also welcome at CVS Pharmacies throughout the flu season.

Why Is It So Important For Seniors To Get Flu Shots

Who is at the greatest risk from catching the flu ?

  • children less than 5 yrs old
  • individuals suffering from certain existing health conditions

The flu related statistics for the elderly are particularly bad

  • 9 out of 10 flu-related deaths in America are people aged over 65 years old
  • 6 out of 10 flu-related hospital stays in America are people over 65 years old

One of the best measures you can take to prevent and protect against this, is to get a yearly flu shot.

The flu vaccines are available in both a normal strength dose and a high strength dose, which is typically recommended for the elderly.

The source for the statistics is: NCOA Center for Benefits Access Vaccines: What Medicare pays forwhich you can find and read here.

For the elderly, several factors increase the risk of serious illness caused by the flu virus

  • elderly adults become more susceptible to catching the flu virus as they age
  • the older an elderly adult is, the greater the chance they may develop serious complications if they catch the flu virus
  • underlying health conditions can increase the risk of even greater complications from the flu virus
  • elderly adults are the demographic the most likely to have underlying health conditions

Underlying conditions which can increase the risk of complications from the flu virus include

  • Zoster vaccine
  • Varicella vaccine

To find out more you can take a look at the CVS page on vaccinations on their website here.

Saving On Pharmacy Vaccinations

Just like at your doctors office, pharmacies that offer vaccinations will file with your insurance.

Many vaccinations wont cost you anything if you have a private insurance plan through your employer or that you purchased on a state marketplace. Under the Affordable Care Act, private plans are required to fully cover the cost of recommended vaccinations for adults and children as preventive medical care.

Unfortunately, Medicare doesnt do as good of a job of covering recommended immunizations. Only flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B vaccines are fully covered under Medicare Part B. Other vaccinations are treated like prescription drugs and are covered under Medicare Part D or Advantage plans. That means youll be responsible for paying any co-pays and deductibles required by your prescription drug plan.

If youre paying out of pocket, shop around to find the lowest price. When we checked, we found the lowest prices without insurance at Costco. For example, Pneumovax pneumonia vaccine cost $110 at CVS and Target, but just $97 at Costco pharmacies. And the dual Hepatitis A and B vaccine costs $145 at CVS, $150 at Walgreens , and $93 at Costco.

Another option if you are uninsured or paying out of pocket is to check with statewide free health clinics and community health centers, which offer free or low-cost preventive care and low-cost vaccinations. Find a clinic near you.

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Who Should Get The Flu Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu vaccine every year. People who are at a higher risk of complications from the flu are even more strongly urged to get a vaccine. This includes those 65 and over, pregnant women, children under 5, and people with certain chronic conditions like asthma.

If youre allergic to eggs, have had Guillain-Barré syndrome in the past, or are presently sick, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before getting vaccinated. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare type of autoimmune-related paralysis that can be triggered by infections.

Flu Shots Now Available At Cvs Walmart Walgreens And Rite

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In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. Walmart, CVS, Rite Aid and Walgreens have started administering the flu shot for 2021. AP

While Americans are being highly encouraged to get a COVID-19 vaccine, pharmacies are looking ahead to the 2021 flu season.

CVS, Walmart, Walgreens and Rite Aid have announced they are accepting appointments for people to get a flu shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people age 6 months and older receive a flu shot before the end of October and that getting it is even more important during the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the overall burden of respiratory illnesses is important to protect vulnerable populations at risk for severe illness, the healthcare system, and other critical infrastructure. Thus, healthcare personnel should use every opportunity during the influenza season to administer influenza vaccines to all eligible persons, the CDC said.

Rite Aid is offering the flu vaccine via walk-in appointments and online scheduling. Rite Aid began administering the flu shot on Aug. 12.

Walmart said it is offering a low-cost flu vaccine and a free COVID-19 vaccine that people can get at the same time.

Walmart said it also will continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while administering vaccines.

CVS said it has flu shots available at all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations.

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Here’s What To Know Before You Go

Putting off getting your flu shot or other vaccines because you don’t have time for a doctor’s appointment? The next time you pick up a few things at the drugstore or grocery store, consider updating your vaccinations at the pharmacy.

Pharmacists are trained in immunization technique and are well versed in how to administer shots, according to Carmen Catizone, D.Ph., executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy .

“In fact, today, more patients are receiving their vaccinations from pharmacists than other healthcare providers,” says Catizone.

CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and other chains and some independent pharmacies offer more than the flu shotthey typically also administer other immunizations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , including vaccines against pneumonia, polio, shingles, Tdap , and varicella .

In addition, many also offer travel immunizations for meningitis, typhoid, yellow fever, and other diseases.

An added perk: CVS, Walgreens, and other chains offer loyalty programs that earn you reward points towards discounts on other store purchases. Sign up online or at the pharmacy counter.

Tips For Getting Vaccinated At The Pharmacy

You’ll no doubt remember if you’re due for your annual flu shot. But for other vaccinations, it’s a good idea to check with your physician about what immunizations are recommended for you based on your age and medical history.

Pharmacists in all states are allowed to administer a long list of vaccinations, but state laws varyfor example, you can’t get hepatitis vaccines at the pharmacy in New York. Also, in some states, certain vaccines require a doctor’s prescription. When in doubt, check with your pharmacist.

According to Catizone, the following tips can help getting your vaccinations at the pharmacy go smoothly:

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How Much Is A Flu Shot At Cvs

To get a flu shot, visit any CVS Pharmacy or MinuteClinic with or without an appointment. You can make an appointment at the CVS website, using the CVS app, or by texting FLU to 287898. You can answer questions online and youll get a confirmation email which has a link you can use to check in once you get to the store.

CVS also accepts walk-in patients, but check with individual stores to confirm. The vaccine is available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare B. If youre uninsured, the seasonal flu shot will cost you $31.99.

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Manufacturers are making millions of extra flu vaccine doses to meet the highly anticipated demand for flu shots this season, Walgreens said in a statement. Walgreens has a long history of providing immunizations to the more than one third of patients who receive their flu shots at a pharmacy and has worked closely with manufacturers to increase supply and administer flu vaccinations as soon as possible this season.

The push by retail drugstores to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu comes as U.S. public health officials plead with Americans to protect themselves in what Centers for Disease Control & Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield last week said could be the worst fall, from a public health perspective, weve ever had.

Drugstore chains are urging customers to complete any forms such as those asking about medical histories online and bring them in to pharmacies to speed the vaccination process.

While there is certainly a financial incentive for Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and others to want to boost store traffic and get customers in their stores for a flu shot, executives said the vaccination push is designed to improve public health during an unprecedented U.S. crisis.

The convergence of Covid-19 and flu season means that flu vaccinations are critical to reduce the overall burden of respiratory illnesses on the healthcare system and help protect communities, said Walgreens chief medical officer Dr. Kevin Ban.

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Are There Medicines To Treat The Flu

People diagnosed with the flu or with suspected flu infection and at high risk of serious flu complications should seek treatment immediately.

There are prescription medications available that can lessen fever and flu symptoms, shorten the length of flu illness, and reduce the risk of complications. It is best if they are taken within 2 days of the start of flu symptoms.

The four FDA approved prescription medications for the treatment of flu are oseltamivir phosphate , zanamivir , peramivir , and baloxavir marboxil .

Cvs Walgreens Lead Unprecedented Flu Season Prep As Covid

Walgreens Miami Beach, flu shot promotion, drugstore patient room.

U.S. drugstore chains led by Walgreens and CVS Health are rolling out an unprecedented early push for Americans to get vaccinated at their pharmacies for the seasonal flu before that virus converges with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Walgreens Monday announced plans to increase flu vaccine supply and staff up its pharmacies as drugstores prepare for what they believe will be an onslaught of customers wanting protection for the seasonal flu while they wait for a vaccine for Covid-19. Marketing and advertising has already begun this summer at CVS, Walgreens, Walmart and many other pharmacies and grocers encouraging Americans to get the seasonal flu vaccination ahead of a fall rush.

“It’s going to be difficult to tell the difference between the seasonal flu and Covid-19 so protection against one is important,” CVS Health chief executive Larry Merlo said in an interview. “If you think you’re just going to power through it because you think it’s the seasonal flu, you’re going to have a difficult time.”

CVS alone expects to administer up to 18 million seasonal flu vaccinations, which will be double last years volume, the drugstore chain said. And Walgreens said demand for flu, pneumonia and other immunizations could be as much as 30-50% higher.

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What Can I Expect When Getting A Flu Shot At Minuteclinic In Cambridge Ma

Our staff is trained to help you understand risks of the flu as well as administer the flu vaccine. During your visit, you will also learn about ways to help prevent the flu this season. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people six months of age or older be vaccinated against influenza annually. Since youre likely to fall into that criteria, you can just stop by the MinuteClinic at 6 John F. Kennedy St and get your flu shot at your convenience while picking up your prescriptions or same-day photo order!

What Vaccines Can A Pharmacist Give

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Along with the COVID-19 shot and the flu shot, most pharmacists can administer vaccines to protect against:

In addition to vaccinations, other kinds of injections may be available. Some pharmacies, for example, offer the birth control shot and vitamin B12 injections to patients over 18 with a prescription from a doctor.

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Book A Flu Shot Appointment Online

To book an appointment for a flu shot at a CVS pharmacy near you, go to their website and make an appointment here.

You can book an appointment with the CVS mobile app the CVS app is available on their website here.

When you book an appointment, you will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire and consent form for a screening prior to getting your booking, and to also provide your insurance information.

You can book an appointment at a MinuteClinic on their website here.

You will see the link to make an appointment for a flu shot in the center of the page.

Free Flu Shots Through Clinics Community Organizations And Public Health Departments

Many health departments and free clinics offer low-cost or free flu shots across the U.S. Here are a few examples:

  • Most colleges offer free flu shots for their students. Check on your schools website to confirm.

  • Military veterans enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can get a flu shot at their nearest VA health care facility. This program does not apply to family members of veterans.

  • Many county health departments offer free, or discounted, flu vaccinations during flu season. Examples include:

  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in partnership with select LA County Libraries, will offer free flu shots through November.

  • The San Francisco Health Department offers convenient locations for members of the public to easily access free or low-cost flu vaccines.

  • The Houston Health Department offers flu shots to uninsured and underinsured people on a sliding scale that ranges from free to $15.

Cant find a location near you on this list? Watch for announcements on your local news station or in your local newspaper or search online for free flu shots in your area or through your citys health department.

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Is The Shingles Vaccine Covered By Medicare And Can I Get It At Cvs

Because the shingles vaccine requires two doses, if you have to pay full price around $400 total it may approach the $445 maximum Part D deductible that Medicare allows for 2021.

If thats the case, you may want to consider getting your vaccine early in the year. This way you dont have to worry about your deductible resetting in a new plan year soon after meeting it. You should discuss the risks and benefits of this strategy with your healthcare provider.

As far as going to CVS Pharmacy or CVS in Target to get your shingles vaccine, this is definitely an option. You can always call ahead or go online to schedule same-day appointments, or go in on a walk-in basis at many locations.

Is The Vaccine Safe

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The flu vaccine is safe, says Dr. Mieses Malchuk. The most common side effect is muscle soreness where the shot was given. If the vaccine is doing its jobwhich is to stimulate the immune systemyou may also feel achy or tired.

This does not mean youre sick, she stresses. Because the flu shot doesnt contain any live virus, it cant give you the actual flu. It also doesnt cause autism or any other illness, despite continuing rumors to the contrary.

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How Much Does The Flu Shot Cost Otherwise

The typical price for a flu shot is between $20 to $40. The cost of the senior dose flu shot is around $60 to $70.

The price varies depending on where you get the vaccine. While some pharmacies charge around $40, places like CostCo offer the shot for a lower price. Plus, some stores offer special deals if you get the flu shot at their location. You may get a gift card to use in the store, for example. It may be worth it to check a few different places in your area and compare prices so that you can find the best deal.

Finally, if you have health insurance but it doesnt cover the cost of a flu shot, know that the vaccine is eligible to be reimbursed with funds from a flexible spending account or health savings account , if you have one.

Still unsure where to get a free or low-cost flu shot? Talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may have suggestions based on your area and personal factors.

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