[Editor’s Note: We have not attempted to cover the growing volume of media releases from pharmacy chains and retailers in the U.S. which now offer various vaccination services. But we noted the announcement below because it includes what is described as a “national education and vaccination campaign.” We are monitoring with interest the growing role of the retail sector in delivering vaccinations and associated educational services.]
Rite Aid, the U.S. consumer pharmacy chain, said it is “launching a national shingles vaccination and education campaign against the painful nerve disease that strikes 1 million adult Americans annually – half of them over the age of 60. The disease and long-term pain that may result can leave victims bed-ridden for weeks, months or even years.” Rite Aid said it is offering the shingles vaccine at more than 1,200 Rite Aid pharmacies in 31 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and that “nearly all insurance plans including Medicare Part D will cover at least some of the cost, which varies by insurance coverage.” Rite Aid noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the ZOSTAVAX vaccine as the only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles, which is caused by viral remnants of chickenpox that lay dormant in spinal fluid for decades and can flair up later in life causing long-term pain and inflammation.
Rite Aid said its pharmacists can also “counsel customers and answer questions about shingles including who should and should not be vaccinated. Besides information about shingles at www.riteaid.com/shingles and the shingles shot locator at the same site, in-store signage urges vaccination for protection against shingles, and brochures explaining shingles are available in all Rite Aid stores offering the vaccine. Rite Aid is launching this nationwide campaign after conducting several regional clinics last year and encountering high demand from patients and healthcare providers.”