PHARMACY

CDC, Families Fighting Flu remind communities Tuesday is Children’s Influenza Vaccination Day

BY Antoinette Alexander

WASHINGTON The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Families Fighting Flu members and other public health organizations are partnering to commemorate Children’s Influenza Vaccination Day on Dec. 9, in an effort to remind parents to get children vaccinated.

The non-profit Families Fighting Flu organization was established for the children who die each year due to the influenza virus, and is made up of families and healthcare practitioners dedicated to educating people about the severity of influenza and the importance of vaccinating children against the flu every year.

“The willingness of the members of Families Fighting Flu to speak openly about their loss and the importance of vaccinating children is both courageous and selfless, and I thank them for helping to spread the word about this important issue,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC.

Yearly flu vaccination should begin as soon as the vaccine is available and continue throughout the flu season. The CDC recommends that children aged 6 months up to 19 years of age get vaccinated against the flu. The CDC also recommends that those in close contact with children younger than 5 years of age, such as family members and caregivers, get a flu vaccine each year. In addition, people who live with or are in close contact with a child of any age with a chronic health problem, such as asthma, diabetes or other conditions, should get a flu vaccine.

Each year, an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized in the United States because of flu-related complications. As many as 1-in-5 children younger than 5 years old may have to see the doctor, visit the emergency room or other urgent care for treatment for flu. And about 100 children, on average, die from flu-related complications.

“Losing my infant son, Ian, to the flu has been an unbearable heartbreak, but he is the reason I want parents to know how important it is to protect their infants, especially those who are too young for vaccination, by getting themselves, their family members and every caregiver vaccinated against the flu,” said Julie Moise, a board member of Families Fighting Flu.

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CVS Caremark plans to open location in Tulsa area

BY Antoinette Alexander

TULSA, Okla. CVS Caremark is looking to enter the Tulsa market in 2009, according to a local news report.

The company currently has 34 pharmacy locations in the state, but none that operate in the Tulsa area. According to the report, the company will open two or three stores in that market.

According to the report, one of the stores will be located at the site of a former Bennigan’s restaurant at the northeast corner of 71st Street and Yale Avenue—one of the business intersections in south Tulsa. The current building will be torn down for construction of the pharmacy, which is expected to open in October.

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Humana expands MinuteClinic network for TRICARE customers

BY Antoinette Alexander

LOUISVILLE, Ky. Humana Military Healthcare Services, a subsidiary of Humana Inc., has added additional MinuteClinic locations for its TRICARE benefits customers.

Initially, MinuteClinic services were available to beneficiaries in select cities in Oklahoma and Texas beginning in October. Clinics are now available to beneficiaries in the following locations: Boca Raton/West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa in Florida; Atlanta, Ga.; Columbia, Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, S.C.; and Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn.

“MinuteClinic has been a great addition to our provider network,” said Dave Baker, president of chief executive officer of HMHS. “We are pleased with the success of this relationship and the ability to expand this service to more beneficiaries in the South region.”

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