As fall approaches, VA health care providers are preparing their annual fight against influenza. “Flu teams” are busy putting up posters, sending out notices and printing handouts that promote a common message – flu infection is serious and that Veteran patients and VA staff should get a flu shot. Because receiving an annual vaccination is widely recognized as the best method for preventing disease and death related to influenza, VA orders almost two million doses of flu vaccine annually to be administered at VA medical centers and community based outpatient clinics.
Flu shots are the cornerstone of prevention efforts and are provided free. In addition to vaccination, it’s also important to educate the VA community of the importance of hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes, and of course, staying home when sick.
This flu season VHA has again teamed up with national retail pharmacy Walgreens to provide free quadrivalent flu vaccinations for enrolled Veterans through the VA Retail Immunization Care Coordination Program. This partnership offered greater access to flu vaccine, and as a result more than 70,000 Veteran patients received flu shots at a local Walgreens last year. We expect even more will this year. The partnership between VA and Walgreens continues to grow and the current vaccination period is now through March 31, 2018.
All Veterans who are currently enrolled in VA care may walk into any of the over 8,000 Walgreens nationally and the Duane Reade pharmacies in the New York metropolitan area to receive a vaccination at no cost. After presenting a Veterans identification