The neighborhood pharmacy encourages flu and COVID-19 vaccination before Halloween to get protected ahead of winter and the holiday season
As the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) warns of early increases in seasonal influenza cases, Rite Aid (NYSE: RAD) addresses common misperceptions about vaccination and stresses the importance of staying up to date on flu and COVID-19 vaccinations before Halloween.
“People are looking forward to celebrating Halloween and the upcoming holiday season,” says Karen Staniforth, Chief Pharmacy Officer at Rite Aid. “But, with flu season looming and new COVID-19 variants lurking, the thought of getting sick has communities spooked. To ease fears, our pharmacy team at Rite Aid is here to share best practices to fight the flu and COVID – before they creep up on you.”
Rite Aid’s pharmacists offer the following seasonal tips:
No One Is Invincible: Staying Up to Date on Vaccinations Helps Prevent Serious Illness
Your Halloween costume may include a cape, but that does not make you invincible to the flu or COVID-19. The CDC recommends that everyone six months or older get a flu vaccine every year. The CDC also recommends everyone stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines recommended for their age group. The new updated booster offers protection against both the original virus that causes COVID-19 and the Omicron variant BA.4 and BA.5.
Even if you are young and healthy, the flu and COVID-19 can disrupt your life with unpleasant symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat, body aches and fatigue. Older people and those who are immunocompromised are at risk for more serious outcomes. By staying up to date on these vaccines, you’re protecting yourself, and those around you – which is superhero material.
New Pumpkin, New Shot: Get A Flu Vaccine Every Year
We all know carved Jack-o-Lanterns don’t last forever. Unfortunately, neither does protection from your flu vaccine. Even if you received a flu vaccine last year, you should get one every year in order to be protected. Just like the seasons change, so does the annual flu shot. Flu viruses evolve very quickly, so last year’s vaccine may not protect against this year’s viruses. Each year’s vaccine is custom-crafted (just like your pumpkin art) and will offer the best protection for the upcoming season.
Double Is NOT Trouble: Get Protected Against COVID and Flu
Yes, you can get a COVID-19 vaccination or “boo”ster shot and your annual flu shot at the same time. The COVID-19 vaccines protect against strains of the coronavirus that cause COVID-19, while the flu vaccine protects against strains of influenza. While the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 may be similar, the viruses and vaccines are not the same. So, think of COVID-19 and flu as separate threats – kind of like vampires and zombies – and protect yourself from both with one convenient appointment at your local pharmacy.
Beat the Witching Hour: Get Up to Date on Vaccinations Before Halloween
The flu is already here, with case numbers increasing around the country, and health officials predict COVID-19 cases will increase this winter. It can take a couple of weeks for antibodies to develop after receiving the vaccines, so the CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October for optimal protection in the height of the flu season. And, after two years of unusually low flu activity due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, experts predict this year could mark the return of a more active flu season. At Rite Aid, we are sending Flu Alert emails to customers in locations with high flu prevalence according to CDC data to prompt them to come in for their vaccination. If you recently had COVID-19, you may consider delaying your next vaccine dose by three months from when your symptoms started, or from when you received a positive test.
Of course, if you don’t get a shot before the “witching hour,” getting vaccinated after Halloween still provides protection and is better than going unvaccinated.
Spooked by the Process? Rite Aid Makes It Easy
Whether you’re terrified of needles or stressed about finding time to get vaccinated, Rite Aid makes it easy and convenient. RiteAid.com features an Immunization Evaluation Questionnaire to assess what vaccines are right for you and your family, as well as an online scheduling tool to book your appointment at a convenient time and location. If you’re feeling spontaneous, Rite Aid also has you covered and accepts walk-ins at all locations. Rite Aid offers flu vaccines to meet the needs of all customers, including a vaccine designed specifically for those 65 or older and a nasal spray flu vaccine for children.
Rite Aid is providing customers who get their flu shot with a coupon for $5 off a $25 purchase, and beginning Thursday, is offering an additional $5 off $25 coupon to those who get the COVID booster (not valid in NY or NJ). You can use the coupons to stock up on your favorite Halloween treats – there’s nothing spooky about candy!
For more information on flu vaccination, COVID-19 vaccines, and more seasonal health tips – including how to schedule your immunizations – visit Riteaid.com.
About Rite Aid Corporation
Rite Aid is a full-service pharmacy that improves health outcomes. Rite Aid is defining the modern pharmacy by meeting customer needs with a wide range of vehicles that offer convenience, including retail and delivery pharmacy, as well as services offered through our wholly owned subsidiaries, Elixir, Bartell Drugs and Health Dialog. Elixir, Rite Aid’s pharmacy benefits and services company, consists of accredited mail and specialty pharmacies, prescription discount programs and an industry leading adjudication platform to offer superior member experience and cost savings. Health Dialog provides healthcare coaching and disease management services via live online and phone health services. Regional chain Bartell Drugs has supported the health and wellness needs in the Seattle area for more than 130 years. Rite Aid employs more than 6,300 pharmacists and operates more than 2,300 retail pharmacy locations across 17 states. For more information, visit www.riteaid.com.