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Flu vaccination season approaches

Prevention shots available at local pharmacies

OW Staff Writer | 8/29/2013, midnight

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Some people, such as the elderly, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year, believe local health officials.

The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.

“Last season demonstrated why it’s important to protect yourself early, as the influenza virus is always unpredictable in when, where and how widely it may spread,” stated Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. “During a very active flu season, our pharmacists and healthcare clinic nurse practitioners, who are trained to provide immunizations, delivered more than 7 million flu shots to our customers.”

All Walgreens points of care this season offer a standard seasonal flu vaccine, as well as FluMist, a needle-free nasal alternative; Fluzone HD, a high-dose influenza vaccine for those over age 65; Fluarix, a quadrivalent (protects against four strains of influenza) vaccine; and Flucelvax, a cell-based vaccine which is expected to be available in late September.

Flu shots are also available at more than 7,100 CVS/Pharmacy locations, and the pharmacy is offering a 20 percent off shopping pass, for every vaccination.