What You Need to Know About Getting Vaccinated at a Pharmacy
管家婆精选四消期期准Your neighborhood drugstore may offer a convenient and cost-effective way to get essential vaccines, like the flu shot, for you and your family.
This flu season, to decrease the possibility of a “twindemic” of influenza and COVID-19, straining our already stretched healthcare system, it’s more important than ever to get an annual flu vaccination for you and your family. And the solution may be as close as your local drugstore.
Pharmacies are in demand for flu shots this year, anticipating an increase of 30 to 50 percent and ordering their supply accordingly. In an effort to expand access to vital immunizations and increase routine pediatric vaccination rates, which dropped during the first months of the pandemic, the in August, allowing pharmacists to order and administer vaccines, including flu shots管家婆精选四消期期准, to patients from age 3 to 18. (Minimum ages for these services have been regulated by state law, vary by state, and still vary by pharmacy).
But in addition to the flu, pharmacies are becoming a go-to for other vaccinations. Pharmacists are making a major contribution to the “immunization neighborhood,” says , an infectious disease specialist and professor of preventive medicine and health policy at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee. “Today, pharmacists are well-trained in vaccines and their indications, as well as with inoculation technique.”
管家婆精选四消期期准Chances are your pharmacist is more readily accessible than your doctor, making it easier to stay on top of your vaccination needs. According to a , people are likely to see their local pharmacist as much as 10 times more frequently than they visit their primary care physician.
管家婆精选四消期期准“Patients have more encounters with pharmacists than with their healthcare providers,” says Dr. Schaffner. “Each of those contacts is an opportunity to review the immunization history and to bring vaccinations up to date.”
管家婆精选四消期期准Jenny Sippel-Tompkins, PhD, director of pharmacy at in Florida, agrees. “As the most accessible provider of healthcare, pharmacists have become a convenient option for vaccinations,” she says. “Pharmacists can provide comprehensive education about the value of recommended vaccines, too.”
Where Can You Get Vaccinations?
管家婆精选四消期期准Vaccinations are administered at drugstore chains, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens, warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, and many independent pharmacies.
管家婆精选四消期期准State laws vary on what specific vaccinations can be given, and whether a doctor’s prescription is needed.
管家婆精选四消期期准“Pharmacists who administer vaccines must complete additional training for their state licenses and follow protocols for vaccination safety,” says Dr. Sippel-Tompkins.
Planning Your Vaccine Visit to the Drugstore
If you are going to the pharmacy for vaccination, there are a few things to bear in mind:
- Most pharmacies do not require an appointment and operate on a walk-in basis, but if you need several immunizations or if you’re getting the entire family vaccinated, it’s a good idea to call ahead. Depending on the pharmacy, you may also schedule online.
- If you're worried about exposure to the coronavirus, know that pharmacies are taking extra safety precautions, including physical distancing at immunization sites, masks, gloves, and face shields for pharmacists, as well as temperature checks and COVID-19 screening questions for patients.
- Pharmacies have different age requirements for different vaccines and this varies by state, as well. For example, Walgreens and CVS are offering this season's flu vaccine to children 3 and over, though this depends on your location.
- Bring your insurance information and photo ID.
- You will have to sign a consent form, and the pharmacy will send the information to your healthcare team to update your medical records.
- If you are unsure about the recommended immunizations for children and adults, review the .
What Vaccines Can a Pharmacist Give?
Along with the flu shot管家婆精选四消期期准, most pharmacists can administer vaccines to protect against:
- HPV (human papillomavirus)
- Hepatitis A (hep A)
- Hepatitis B (hep B)
- Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR)
- Meningitis (meningococcal)
- Pneumonia (pneumococcal)
- Shingles (herpes zoster)
- Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap)
- Chickenpox (varicella)
In addition to vaccinations, other kinds of injections may be available. CVS, for example, offers birth control (with a prescription from your doctor, or sometimes pharmacist-prescribed) and vitamin B12 injections to patients over 18 (with a prescription by a medical provider).
管家婆精选四消期期准“Pharmacists are conveniently located, making it easy [for patients] to be vaccinated,” says Schaffner. “I look forward to [them] playing an even larger role in providing this essential preventive health service in the future.”
How Much Do Vaccines Cost?
Pharmacies that offer immunizations will file with your insurance plan. You may still have a deductible or copay. Some private insurers cover 100 percent of vaccination costs.
Medicare fully covers the flu, pneumonia, and hepatitis B vaccines under Part B. If you have Medicare Part D (the Medicare Advantage plan), vaccinations are treated like prescription drugs with copays and deductibles.
It pays to shop around. Not all pharmacies charge the same for vaccinations, so knowing which one is cheapest requires doing some homework.
Also, know that Costco’s pharmacies are open to nonmembers where required by state law, and membership is not required to get vaccinations at Sam’s Club.
管家婆精选四消期期准Pharmacies frequently offer free loyalty or rewards programs. Members can earn points towards discounts on in-store purchases, including immunizations.
Can I Get Free or Low-Cost Vaccinations?
Whether you go to a pharmacy, your doctor’s office, or an urgent care clinic, vaccines can be pricey if you don’t have insurance or can’t afford the out-of-pocket costs. That doesn’t mean you have to give up essential vaccinations.
管家婆精选四消期期准There are several ways you and your family can get free or low-cost vaccines.
The provides vaccines at no cost for children under age 19 who qualify for Medicaid, don’t have insurance or can’t cover out-of-pocket insurance costs, and are Native American or Alaskan Native.
Federally funded health centers provide vaccinations, and the cost may vary based on your income. You can search for local health centers on the .
Your state’s health department can also provide information on getting free or low-cost vaccines. of state health departments.
Check to see if local community centers, schools, or places of worship are offering vaccinations.
The provides many vaccine-related resources, including a searchable database to find places offering vaccines in your ZIP code or city.
“Dependent on your state’s laws, your local pharmacist can play a major role in keeping you and your family healthy, all with speed and convenience in your neighborhood,” says Sippel-Tompkins.