CVS Caremark announced today that it has partnered with Direct Relief USA to offer up to $6 million in free flu shots to community clinic and health center patients who lack health insurance. More than 400 participating clinics and health centers across the country will identify uninsured individuals from their existing patient populations and provide them with a free flu shot voucher, which is redeemable at any CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic location. A list of participating locations at which flu shot vouchers are now available for current uninsured patients of the clinics and health centers may be found at www.cvs.com/flu.
Flu vaccinations are available at more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy locations and nearly 600 MinuteClinic locations inside select CVS/pharmacy stores. Flu shots are being provided by CVS pharmacists and MinuteClinic nurse practitioners and physician assistants every day, including evenings and weekends, with no appointment necessary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that everyone ages six months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible, including those who were vaccinated last season.
Over the past three years, CVS Caremark has committed to providing up to $14 million in free flu shots to patients in need.
“Our goal this flu season is to make CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic the most convenient place to get a flu shot, which includes making sure that cost is not a barrier to this important preventive health care service,” said Larry Merlo, President and CEO of CVS Caremark. “That is why we are working with Direct Relief USA, a dedicated health care organization whose extensive network of clinics and health centers will help us provide free flu shots to those who lack health insurance.”
Direct Relief USA is a non-profit organization that works with 1,100 clinics and health centers in all 50 states, providing them with free medications and supplies for their low-income and uninsured patients. Most of the facilities in Direct Relief’s network are affiliated with either the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) or the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC). Direct Relief is the largest non-profit program providing donations of medicine to patients without insurance at clinics and health centers nationwide, and was awarded the prestigious Power through Partnerships Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers.
“Direct Relief USA is delighted to partner with CVS Caremark for the second straight year to help protect thousands of people who are in a tough financial situation with a free flu shot this season,” said Damon Taugher, Director of Direct Relief USA. “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. CVS Caremark is demonstrating great leadership by addressing an annual public-health risk.”
MinuteClinic flu shots are administered in a private exam room and CVS/pharmacy flu shots are conducted behind a privacy screen in the pharmacy area. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can vaccinate patients who are 18 months or older except in Massachusetts, where the minimum age is 24 months. The minimum age for vaccination by a pharmacist varies by state. Check with your local CVS/pharmacy or visit www.cvs.com/flu to determine minimum vaccination age by state. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic also offer the Fluzone® High Dose vaccine for people ages 65 and older. This higher dose vaccine is designed to provide better protection from influenza to this age group.