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VA Connecticut Healthcare System

 

VA is ready for flu season

Flu shots are available at VA medical centers and community clinics in addition to Walgreens Pharmacies.

Flu shots are available at VA medical centers and community clinics in addition to Walgreens Pharmacies

By Glenn A. Johnson, Chief of Health Care Media (VHA Office of Community Care)
Saturday, September 1, 2018

The current 2018-2019 season may be just as dangerous as last year. To make it easier for veterans to get a flu vaccination, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made two methods for getting a no cost flu vaccination available to veterans nationwide. This year, like all others, flu shots will continue to be given at all VA medical centers and community clinics for free. A veteran simply needs to ask your  primary care physician for the vaccination when you visit. 

The other method for veterans to receive a no cost vaccination is through the VA/Walgreens partnership within the Retail Immunization Program by visiting any of the 8200 Walgreens pharmacies nationally through the VA’s Retail Immunization program. The veteran simply needs to visit a Walgreens pharmacy, present your Veterans Health Identification Card and one other form of photo ID to receive a vaccination. 

Since the program’s inception in 2014-2015 the number of vaccinations has increased dramatically from less than 20,000 to a record for last year’s campaign which delivered 105,010 vaccinations at a final cost to the taxpayer of $3,202,805.00. Over 25 percent of those vaccinations given were to rural veterans, a notoriously underserved population. 

“Our partnership with Walgreens has been a positive and effective force in the VA’s ability to meet the vaccination needs of our rural veterans with Walgreens providing over 105,000 vaccinations on behalf of the VA during the 2017-2018 flu season,” said Elizabeth Tyler, VA’s Program Manager for the Retail Immunization Program. 

“And,” Tyler continued, “we expect that partnership to grow even more strong and effective for our current 2018-2019 season with an estimated delivery of 161,000 vaccinations between Aug. 2018 and the end of March 2019.” 

Another perk of the VA-Walgreens partnership, is that after a Walgreens pharmacist administers the flu shot, the veteran’s immunization information is transmitted directly to VA through the eHealth Exchange and becomes part of the patient’s VA health record. The Walgreens immunization records are automatically available for VA clinicians to review within 24 hours. 

For the 2018-2019 flu season the no cost option is for the quadrivalent version of the vaccine. Any veteran requesting another type of flu shot such as “High Dose,” trivalent or a flu shot outside of the contracted timeframe, Walgreens' staff will refer veteran patients to their local VA health facilities to obtain a VA provided no-cost flu shot. 

For more information about this important benefit, please visit our website at: https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/veterans/immunization.asp 

 

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