It's that time of year again and Flu Season is just around the corner. Stop by a participating Giant Pharmacy to get your flu shot. Each year, our specially-trained pharmacists administer thousands of flu vaccines.
Here is some helpful Q&A to understanding why getting your flu shot is important.
I got a flu shot last year, do I need to get one this year, too?
Yes, flu viruses are constantly changing and are already different from last years viruses. Each year the vaccines are made to keep up with these changes to give us better immunity against the coming season.
Also, the immunity we build from these vaccines goes away over time and does not protect us well for more than one season. Getting your flu shot each season offers the best protection for you and your community.
Is there a separate H1N1 shot like there was a couple years ago?
No, there will not be a separate shot like the 2009-2010 season. This was done in the past because of emergence of a new virus mid-year that people had little to no immunity to. This year all flu vaccines will contain the H1N1 virus.
Why is it important to get a flu shot? Isn't the flu just a few sniffles?
The flu can actually be a very serious illness that can lead to hospitalization, or even death. Although most of these deaths are in the elderly, even healthy people can get sick and spread it to others. By getting your flu shot, you are helping to protect not only yourself, but those around you. The more people that get vaccinated, the less the flu will be able to spread and harm the community.
A "high dose" vaccine is being recommended for seniors. Can you tell us a little about what makes that vaccine special?
Fluzone High-Dose was designed specifically for ages 65 years and older. This higher dose is helpful because as we age our immune system weakens and doesn't respond as well as it used to. The goal with this new vaccine is to signal a stronger immune response in this higher risk group of people. It works by containing four times the part of the vaccine that signals the body to build immunity to the flu.
We understand there are some new vaccines this year that have never been available before. Can you tell us a little about those?
One new type of vaccine available is called a quadrivalent flu vaccine. It is different because traditionally flu shots made to protect from three strains of the flu. This year some will be made to protect against four strains with the idea of providing extra protection. This new formulation may build stronger immunity, however, the CDC does not prefer any one vaccine in its recommendations.
Another new vaccine is called Flucelax. This one is unique because it uses a new technology called cell-culture technology for production instead of the traditional egg-based process and is also free from preservatives and antibiotics.
We carry both products in our pharmacies.
We used to go to our doctors to get flu shots. Why are so many pharmacies now offering flu shots?
In an effort to get everyone vaccinated, changes have been made to allow pharmacists to give vaccines. By offering this service within pharmacies, immunizations can now be done without an appointment or even while running errands. We understand how busy our patients' can be and work to make getting vaccinated as convenient as possible. By doing so, we hope to help increase immunization rates and in turn benefit the health of the entire community.
Our immunizing pharmacists must go through specific training and certification through the American Pharmacist Association in order to provide this service. This helps to ensure patients are receiving the same level of care as they would in their doctor's office. Pharmacists are highly trained and accessible members of the health care team and we are very excited to provide this additional service. We are available for questions about getting vaccines and can help determine which are right for you.
Can you give other immunizations besides flu?
Yes! We are lucky to be able to immunize against a variety of illnesses like shingles, pneumonia, and tetanus to name a few. There are many vaccines out there and we know it can be confusing to know which to get and when. If you have any questions about which vaccines you may need we are ready and willing to help you.
To learn more about Giant's Workplace Flu Shot Program, call (877) 439-1311, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.