CVS Health aiming to make it easier to get flu vaccine

CVS Health officials said they do not believe any debate over the need to get the COVID-19 vaccine will carry over to a willingness to get a flu shot.

Christina Cacchioli, the region director for CVS Health in northern New Jersey, said the company expects a similar volume of flu vaccinations to last season.

The only downside: Most studies show only 50% of the population get the flu vaccination — and many of those who do are either under 18 or over 64.

Cacchioli said CVS Health is working to improve those numbers.

Flu shots are now available at all CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic locations across the country, with digital and walk-in appointments available for people of all ages, seven days a week, with extended evening and weekend hours.

CVS officials hope that the digital scheduling will offer patients flexibility and the ability to schedule multiple patients at once, which makes it easier for families and other groups that want to get vaccinated together.

According to a survey of U.S. consumers commissioned by CVS Health, 65% of people plan to schedule their appointment digitally this season. The survey also found that 43% of people intend to visit a retail pharmacy to get their flu shot this year, followed by their doctor’s office (33%).

Of course, the most important thing is to get a shot, said Prem Shah, the chief pharmacy officer at CVS Pharmacy.

“The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated,” he said. “To encourage people to do so, we’re offering a seamless vaccination experience where patients of all ages can safely and conveniently receive this important immunization, as well as remain up to date on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters, on days and at times that work best for them.”

The CDC recommends that individuals get their flu vaccination early in the fall, before flu season begins, and ideally no later than the end of October. CVS Pharmacy and MinuteClinic carry multiple flu vaccine options, including the higher dose vaccine that is recommended for seniors.