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Most Seniors Not Aware of High Dose Flu Shot for Elderly Provided by Medicare

Flu vaccine, including high dose version, is provided at no cost to seniors covered by Medicare - vaccine finder on page

Aug. 17, 2014 A stronger flu vaccine was created just for senior citizens. The high dose vaccine contains four times the antigens as the regular flu vaccine and is intended to create a stronger immune response for seniors, who are at greater risk of developing severe flu-related illnesses. The problem is that the majority of seniors are not aware of its importance.

A new survey from CVS/pharmacy found that three in five U.S. adults (61 percent) are unaware of the importance of the high dose flu vaccine in flu prevention for adults 65 years and older. 

According to the study, nearly one in three (30 percent) Americans have a role in helping an elderly family member or loved one aged 65 years or older make healthcare decisions, reinforcing the importance of the general population to be aware of the availability of the high dose flu vaccine.  

"Getting an annual flu shot is the best way to help prevent the spread of influenza, especially for seniors who are more susceptible to developing complications from the flu," said Papatya Tankut, RPh, Vice President of Pharmacy Affairs, CVS Caremark.

Flu Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

>> CDC page for information on 2013-14 flu season.

>> Special information for senior citizens (65 and older)

"The results of our consumer survey indicate the need for greater awareness among all Americans to understand the benefits of getting vaccinated and assisting older loved ones in making the decision, as well."

The news release said all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations have begun to offer flu vaccinations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone who is at least 6 months old get a flu shot as soon as the vaccine is available.

Among Americans who have ever received a flu shot, more than one-third (35 percent) indicated that convenience plays a major role in their decision about where to get the vaccination. More than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores and 850 MinuteClinics inside select CVS/pharmacy locations will provide flu shots every day, including evening and weekends, with no appointment needed.

Getting the flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic is also very affordable. Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) are unaware that the flu vaccine is a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, fully covered and available at no cost through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic can directly bill many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the cost of a flu shot.

 

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Additional findings from the survey include:

   ● Two-thirds (67 percent) of employed Americans would go to work even if they were feeling ill with flu-like symptoms.

   ● Less than half (44 percent) of those who receive a flu vaccine each year get it administered at a primary care physician's office. According to CVS/pharmacy's 2013 consumer survey about flu, which revealed 61 percent of U.S. adults who ever received a flu shot have ever received their vaccination at a primary care physician's office, this is on the decline.1

   ● Three-fifths (59 percent) indicated they plan to get the flu shot this year.

   ● According to the CDC, it is estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.

        > With this in mind, 63 percent of those 65 and older would consider getting a high-dose flu vaccine.

        > Nearly three in five (58 percent) of those aged 18-64 indicate they would recommend the high dose to someone 65 and older.

In addition to flu shots, CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants provide a number of other vaccinations, including pneumonia and pertussis (whooping cough), among others.

The survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of CVS/pharmacy in July 2014 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+.

 Visit www.cvs.com/getvaccinated or www.minuteclinic.com/services/vaccination for more information on the vaccines offered. Certain immunizations have age and location restrictions.

Customers will receive a 20 percent off CVS/pharmacy Shopping Pass when they get a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. The Shopping Pass can be used with the CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Rewards card to save 20 percent off non-pharmacy purchases up to $100.2

Visit cvs.com/flu for more information and additional resources. Consumers can also visit www.cvs.com or use the CVS/pharmacy Mobile smartphone app to locate their closest location.

 

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