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Shingles Immunization Campaign Kicks Off In January

Rite Aid launched a shingles immunization campaign in January to raise awareness about the illness and to help more seniors get vaccinated.

“Anyone who knows a person who has had the shingles knows you do not want to have them,” says Director of Field Clinical Services Rick Mohall.

Shingles, an “extremely painful rash” that lasts about two to four weeks, is caused by varicella zoster, the same virus that causes chicken pox, Mohall says. The virus remains dormant in the body and can reappear when the immune system is compromised, often due to aging. At least 1 million people a year in the United States get shingles.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend a single dose of shingles vaccine for adults 60 years of age or older. Though about 90 percent of Americans that age have the virus that causes shingles, only about eight percent are immunized, Mohall says.

“We feel this represents a huge opportunity for our immunizing pharmacists to help more seniors take a proactive approach in protecting their health and wellness,” Mohall says. Mohall adds that shingles vaccinations are covered under Medicare Part D.

In many cases, Rite Aid’s immunizing pharmacists administer shingles immunizations to patients. Nurse clinics are being held at stores in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and West Virginia, where law prohibits pharmacists from administering shingles vaccinations.

“Our hope is that the relationships we build during this campaign will carry over into the future, so that patients know we are a reliable and convenient resource for their immunization needs,” Mohall says.