(HealthNewsDigest.com) - WOONSOCKET, R.I., -- As the U.S. enters the busy 2012 holiday season, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are reminding families during National Influenza Vaccination Week about the importance of receiving their flu vaccinations for the best protection against influenza this winter.
This year's National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 2-8, 2012. It was established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to annually highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination during and after the holiday season into January and beyond.
CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic began providing flu shots at the end of August and all of its pharmacy and walk-in medical clinic locations continue to offer vaccinations every day with no appointment needed.
"National Influenza Vaccination Week is an ideal time to remind those who have not received their flu shot yet that a vaccination is the best way to prevent getting sick with the flu and that there is still time to get vaccinated if they have not already done so," said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs at CVS/pharmacy. "CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants are available every day at all of our locations to help patients on their path to better health with a flu vaccination."
CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic are partnering with the CDC and the NFL Retired Players Association during National Influenza Vaccination Week to increase awareness about the importance and benefits of annual flu vaccination.
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza disease. Yearly vaccination is needed because flu viruses are always changing so new vaccine is produced each year to protect against the currently circulating influenza viruses. Also, immunity received from the influenza vaccination declines over time so an annual flu shot provides optimal protection.
"Influenza is a serious disease that kills thousands of people each year," said CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden. "Influenza season is upon us and vaccination is the single most important step someone can take to protect themselves. I received my vaccine and I want to encourage anyone who has not gotten vaccinated to go out and get one - it could mean the difference between health and sickness, life and death."
The NFL Retired Players Association is supporting this partnership by promoting awareness during National Influenza Vaccination Week and by having legacy and Hall of Fame players reach out to communities and fans nationally.
Former Minnesota Viking and Pro Football Hall of Famer Carl Eller received his flu shot at a CVS/pharmacy in Minneapolis to demonstrate to his family, fans and community the importance of getting protected during flu season. Mr. Eller is the President and Founder of the NFL Retired Players Association.
"A critical element to the health of our members, who are Pro Football Hall of Famers, NFL Legends, former players and fan favorites, is getting them important information about their health," said Eller. "The NFLRPA's partnership with CDC allows us to provide our members with timely and up to date information that is vital to their overall health. National Influenza Vaccination Week is also a way to keep them involved in the communities where they live and work. NFLRPA members have a large following of loyal supporters who remember them and are still interested in them and their causes."
CVS/pharmacy will also promote flu vaccine awareness during National Influenza Vaccination Week on its Facebook and Twitter social media channels.
All 7,400 CVS/pharmacy stores and the more than 600 MinuteClinic walk-in medical clinics inside select CVS locations provide flu shots every day including evenings and weekends, no appointment needed. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic accept many health plans, including Medicare Part B and TRICARE, which typically cover the full cost of a flu shot. Direct medical billing for many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot is also available.
This flu season, customers will receive a 20% Off CVS/pharmacy Shopping Pass when they get a flu shot at CVS or MinuteClinic. The Shopping Pass can be used with CVS/pharmacy's ExtraCare card to save 20% off non-pharmacy purchases up to $100.*
In addition to the flu shot, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic offer a number of other vaccinations. Select CVS/pharmacy locations now also offer the shingles vaccine. Certain immunizations have age and location restrictions. Visit https://vaccines.cvs.com/ for more information on the vaccines offered, to schedule a vaccination appointment or find a CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic location for a walk-in vaccination.
CVS/pharmacy, the retail division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), is America's leading retail pharmacy with more than 7,400 CVS/pharmacy and Longs Drug stores. CVS/pharmacy is reinventing pharmacy to help people on their path to better health by providing the most accessible and personalized expertise, both in its stores and online at CVS.com. General information about CVS/pharmacy and CVS Caremark is available at info.cvscaremark.com.
MinuteClinic is a division of CVS Caremark Corporation (NYSE: CVS), the largest pharmacy health care provider in the United States. MinuteClinic launched the first retail medical clinics in the United States in 2000 and is the largest provider of retail clinics with more than 600 locations in 25 states and the District of Columbia. By creating a health care delivery model that responds to patient demand, MinuteClinic makes access to high-quality medical treatment easier for more Americans. Nationally, the company has generated more than 13 million patient visits, with a 95% customer satisfaction rating. MinuteClinic is the only retail health care provider to receive three consecutive accreditations from The Joint Commission, the national evaluation and certifying agency for nearly 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States. For more information, visit www.MinuteClinic.com
CDC works 24/7 saving lives, protecting people from health threats, and saving money through prevention. Whether these threats are global or domestic, chronic or acute, curable or preventable, natural disaster or deliberate attack, CDC is the nation's health protection agency. To learn more about CDC and influenza, visitwww.cdc.gov/flu.
About NFL Retired Players Association
The NFL Retired Players Association is dedicated to providing powerful national advocacy and collegial support for retired professional football players, their families and their communities at large. Former NFL players add value and bring a tremendous vitality to the communities they live in. We want to continue to promote the retired player as a community asset and a person of influence that can help improve the community as a whole. The RPA lobbies nationally for more comprehensive medical benefits for retired athletes. Our efforts are focused on building community among former NFL Players to promote Life Balance, Well-Being and Maturity to improve their image, their persona and create an optimum quality of life for the retired player. http://www.nflretiredplayersassociation.org/.
*Normal ExtraCare purchase restrictions apply for 20% Off Shopping Pass. ExtraCare card is not required in the state of HI. Offer is not valid in the states of AR, NJ and NY. Shopping Pass is not available at MinuteClinic in the states of MA, NJ and NY. Flu shots are available when immunizing pharmacist or MinuteClinic nurse practitioner is on duty, while supplies last.