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Jamal Downer is a pharmacy manager for Walgreens and is based in New York. He currently is responsible for everything from dispensing prescribed medications and counseling patients to managing the operations of the pharmacy department to include department procedures and practices. Downer joined Walgreens in 2004 as a pharmacist. Downer received a Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) from Arnold and Marie Schwartz College of Pharmacy in 2004.

Flu Shots And Why They Are Important 

The flu shot is the best protection you can get against influenza… the one thing we know about flu season is that it’s always unpredictable… we never know when it may peak or how severe it may be… that’s why each year the CDC recommends a flu shot for everyone over the age of 6 months by October or as soon as vaccine becomes available.

Walgreens offers flu shots (and a broad range of CDC-recommended vaccines) whenever it’s most convenient for our customers and patients. Flu shots are available at any Walgreens pharmacy seven days a week, with no appointment necessary.  They’re available during all pharmacy hours at all Walgreens, Duane Reade pharmacies in New York, and also at our Healthcare Clinic locations.

About one-third of the customers who get their flu shots at Walgreens do so during off hours – mainly evening and weekends (also holiday), which shows the importance of providing vaccinations when it’s most convenient for our customers/patients.

Well over 90 percent of our flu shot customers have their vaccinations covered under some form of insurance – and often with no out-of-pocket cost. Under the Affordable Care Act, health plans are required to cover flu shots as well as number of other vaccinations.

Flu shots are covered under Medicare Part B as well as most insurance plans. With broader coverage than ever before from health plans and insurers, it’s not only the most important preventive measure you can take for flu season, it’s also now one of the easiest.

Walgreens points of care will again offer a number of options for flu shots including: seasonal flu vaccine, a high-dose vaccine recommended for those over age 65; and a quadrivalent vaccine (protects against four strains of influenza).

‘Get a Shot Give a Shot’ campaign

The Walgreens ‘Get a Shot, Give a Shot’ campaign has helped to provide over 15 million life-saving vaccines (polio and measles) over the past three years.

For every vaccine (all vaccines, not just flu) administered at a Walgreens pharmacy, Healthcare Clinic or Duane Reade pharmacy, Walgreens will donate the value of a life-saving vaccine to a child in need in a developing country – through our partnership with the UN Foundation and its Shot@Life campaign.

This year – our goal is to continue to increase the number of life-saving vaccines we provide through the campaign to benefit more children and families in need in developing countries, while also improving immunization rates here in the U.S.

1-in-5 children worldwide lack access to lifesaving immunizations, and a child dies of a vaccine-preventable disease every 20 seconds (Shot@Life). And the # of children dying every year from preventable diseases in developing countries is nearly equal to half the children entering kindergarten in the U.S.

We’re proud to work with the UN Foundation and extend our partnership now in its third year…  this furthers and supports our mission to help increase the # of people vaccinated against flu and other vaccine-preventable diseases in underserved communities across America, as well as populations in need in other parts of the world.

We’re also now in our sixth year of a flu shot voucher program we’ve developed by working closely with the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Through the program, we’ve distributed more than $50 million worth of flu shot vouchers to uninsured or underinsured individuals throughout the U.S., and this season we will aim to distribute more than $10 million worth of flu shot vouchers through various community outreach efforts.

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Get Well Wednesday: What You Need To Know About Flu Shots  was originally published on