RETAIL NEWS

New York offers flu shot vouchers at Walgreens, Duane Reade

BY Michael Johnsen

The Health Department in New York City on Monday collaborated with Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies on an offer of 1,000 vouchers for flu shots at specific pharmacy locations located in areas with high rates of people without health insurance and low flu vaccination rates. The initiative was made possible by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships.

“Our surveillance has shown that influenza activity remains elevated throughout the city, and expanding access to this potentially life-saving vaccine is one more step we can take to ensure New Yorkers remain healthy,” New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett said. “I thank our partners at Walgreens for working with us on this vital issue. The flu shot remains the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and your neighbors from the influenza virus. Flu season is not over, and I urge New Yorkers to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

“We’re proud to be working with the New York City Department of Health on this initiative,” said Tony Riso, regional healthcare director, Walgreens. “By providing access to flu shots at no cost for those who are eligible, we can help protect the health and wellbeing of our community members and prevent the further spread of influenza this season.”

As the city and the country continue to see elevated influenza activity, the Health Department is reminding all New Yorkers to get their annual flu shot so they are protected against the influenza virus and its severe symptoms and complications. A flu shot, administered even after influenza season has arrived, can still provide protection and mitigate the symptoms and complications should one contract the virus.

The flu vouchers are available on a first come, first served basis while supplies last, and will allow uninsured and underinsured individuals to receive the flu vaccine at no cost. The vaccine is subject to availability, and age, state and health related restrictions may apply. The vouchers are available for New Yorkers 7 years of age and older who do not have health insurance. This voucher is being offered at 11 Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in the five boroughs.

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that the vaccine can prevent about 59% of influenza cases in young children (ages six months to eight years), and overall, it can prevent about one-third of cases.

 

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99 Cents Only taps industry vets as CEO, COO

BY Marianne Wilson

99 Cents Only Stores has tapped a grocery veteran to be its new chief executive.

The deep-discounter, which operates 391 stores in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada, appointed Jack Sinclair, currently 99 Cents’ head merchant and marketer, as CEO. He succeeds Geoffrey Covert, who is retiring after a 44-year career in retail.

Sinclair joined 99 Cents in 2015 as chief merchandising and marketing officer. He worked closely with Covert to dramatically improve the company’s financial performance and position it for growth, the retailer said. Prior to joining 99 Cents, Sinclair led the grocery business of Walmart US from 2007 to 2015. He previously spent 14 years at Safeway in London where he had responsibility for operations, merchandising and marketing.

“99 Cents Only Stores is one of the most iconic and unique brands in retail today,” said Sinclair. “We look forward to continued growth, welcoming new customers to our existing stores and introducing our stores to new communities. We have ambitious goals and our growth trajectory is just beginning.”

Covert’s retirement caps a 44-year career in the grocery retail sector. He joined 99 Cents as CEO in September 2015, having previously served as senior VP of Kroger Co. Prior to joining Kroger in 1996, he worked for 22 years in a number of management positions at Procter & Gamble Co.

Under Covert’s leadership, 99 Cents has successfully grown both revenue and adjusted EBITDA, the company said.

“Geoff’s contributions to 99 Cents Only Stores have been invaluable and we are grateful for his leadership,” said David Kaplan, co-founder and global private equity co-head of Ares Management, which purchased 99 Cents in 2011. “Today the company is well positioned to extend its recent growth trajectory, thanks to Geoff’s stewardship and Jack’s unique understanding of our business model, knowledge of the industry, and proven track record.”

In other appointments, Jason Kidd has been named as president and COO. He joined the company in 2014 as senior VP of store operations. Previously, Kidd held a senior VP role with Sam’s Club.

Also, Norman Axelrod, a director since 2012, has been named chairman, succeeding Andrew Giancamilli, who will continue to serve as a director.

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Shingrix shingles vaccine now available at all Wegmans

BY Michael Johnsen

Wegmans Food Market pharmacies on Monday announced that GSK’s Shingrix, the new, more effective shingles vaccine recently recommended by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is now available chainwide.

“We want to help our customers stay healthy by providing easy, convenient access to the most effective vaccinations available,” Katie Niles, Wegmans pharmacist and pharmacy clinical wellness services manager, said. “Because Shingrix has a much higher rate of effectiveness, it is recommended that all adults 50 and older, including those who received the previously available vaccine, receive the Shingrix vaccine to reduce their risk.”

The CDC recommends that healthy adults 50 years and older get two doses of Shingrix, separated by two to six months, to protect against shingles and postherpetic neuralgia, the most common complication from shingles.

Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2017, Shingrix is now the preferred shingles vaccine with an effective rate of more than 90% for the prevention of shingles and PHN, compared to the previously recommended vaccine, Zostavax, that reduced the risk of shingles and PHN by 51% and 67%, respectively, Wegmans reported.

The CDC’s recommendation of Shingrix means approximately 42 million adults aged 50-59 years old and 20 million who have previously been vaccinated against shingles may be eligible to receive the new vaccination.

Shingles is caused by the reactivation of the same virus that causes chickenpox, which remains dormant in the body after recovery. Anyone who has recovered from chickenpox can get shingles, though the risk increases with age. According to the CDC, almost one out of every three people in the U.S. will develop shingles in their lifetime, with an estimated one million cases of shingles each year.

Wegmans pharmacists are available to speak with customers and answer questions about the shingles vaccination and assist with determining their insurance policy’s coverage.

In addition to the shingles vaccine, Wegmans Pharmacy locations throughout the company’s six-state footprint offer an array of immunizations. Depending upon the state, customers may receive immunizations against influenza, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, varicella (chicken pox), human papillomavirus (HPV), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), meningococcal (meningitis), pneumococcal disease (pneumonia), tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis.

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