Immunizations: A Year-Round Focus At Rite Aid
Flu season may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that Rite Aid is hibernating when it comes to immunizations.On the heels of a highly successful flu shot campaign – which saw Rite Aid pharmacists administer nearly 1.5 million vaccinations – the company has launched a chainwide Zostavax campaign. At the same time, it is deploying additional Tdap vaccine in response to localized outbreaks of whooping cough.
According to Director of Field Clinical Services Rick Mohall, the two-month Zostavax campaign encourages seniors to get vaccinated at their local Rite Aid drugstore in order to protect themselves from shingles, a very painful yet highly preventable disease.
Mohall sees Rite Aid’s campaign as an opportunity to improve public health by educating people about the disease. Shingles can affect anyone who has ever had the chicken pox.
“The virus lies dormant in a person’s nerve roots and can reappear as shingles if the person’s immune system is compromised,” says Mohall. “While chicken pox can cause skin irritations that make you itch, shingles irritations are very painful to the point where it can be agonizing just to put on your shirt.”
State laws allow pharmacists to administer Zostavax in most states in which Rite Aid operates. In states that have yet to allow for pharmacist-administered Zostavax vaccinations, Rite Aid has organized in-store clinics where nurses visit the store to administer the vaccine.
In addition, the company has deployed additional quantities of the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) to stores in the state of Washington after its department of health reported “epidemic” levels of the disease so far in 2012. Officials said cases during a recent 3-month period were seven times higher than the same period the year before.
Rite Aid’s ability to help those in Washington state protect themselves from whooping cough, also known as pertussis, shows that the company’s immunization program extends far beyond flu shots.
But flu prevention is a significant piece of the company’s immunization business, and the company is already gearing up to build on its successful 2011-12 campaign. “We’ve reached out to thousands of businesses to let them know that our pharmacists can immunize their employees on site,” Mohall says. “It’s yet another way that we can help the communities we serve in terms of their health and wellness.”