CVS Caremark to Offer $5 Million in Free Flu Shots to Uninsured Patients

CVS Caremark announced today that it will partner with Direct Relief to offer up to $5 million in free flu shots to community clinic and health center patients who lack health insurance. Flu vaccinations are now available at all CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations nationwide.  Vouchers redeemable for a free flu shot at any CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic will be distributed by CVS Caremark and Direct Relief USA to participating clinics and health centers. These facilities will identify uninsured individuals from their existing patient populations in order to provide them with a free flu shot voucher.

“With every CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic location providing flu vaccinations this year, we want to make sure that as many people as possible have access to a flu shot, including patients for whom cost may be a barrier,” said Larry Merlo, President and COO, CVS Caremark. “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that everyone receive a flu shot this year. We are pleased to partner with Direct Relief USA to help accomplish that goal.”

“Direct Relief is delighted to partner with CVS Caremark to help protect thousands of people who are in a tough financial situation with a free flu shot this season,” said Thomas Tighe, President and CEO of Direct Relief. “The network we’ve built in collaboration with community health centers and clinics nationwide enables CVS Caremark’s generous contribution to reach people who need help in a very efficient way. CVS Caremark is demonstrating great leadership by addressing an annual public-health risk.”

“We appreciate CVS Caremark’s free flu shot donation to uninsured patients of community health centers.  This is certainly an example of a partnership that provides support for safety net providers and the patients they serve,” said Malvise Scott, Senior Vice President, Partnership and Resource Development, NACHC.

Beginning September 20, 2010, CVS free flu shot vouchers for the uninsured will be available at participating community clinic and health centers for their existing patients. Names and locations of participating clinics will be made available on September 20.

CVS/pharmacy has more than 7,000 locations and MinuteClinic has more than 500 locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores. Customers can make an appointment to receive a flu shot from a CVS pharmacist at the time, date and location of their choice by using the My Flu Shot Scheduler available at www.cvs.com/flu or by calling toll-free 1-888-FLU-SHOT (1-888-88-GRIPE for Spanish).  MinuteClinic nurse practitioners are available to provide vaccinations 7 days a week during regular business hours with no appointment required.

MinuteClinic nurse practitioners can vaccinate patients who are 18 months or older except in Massachusetts, where the minimum age is 24 months. The minimum age for vaccinations by a pharmacist varies depending on the state. Check with your local CVS/pharmacy or visit www.cvs.com/flu to determine minimum vaccination age by state.

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