Safeway Offering Flu Shots

Safeway Seasonal Wellness Survey shows convenience is a key to flu prevention.

To make health and wellness a more convenient part of busy fall schedules, Safeway Inc. is providing flu shots in its grocery stores where people are already shopping for many household needs, including nutritious foods and other health-related items.

Safeway pharmacists are administering flu vaccines in more than 1,100 Safeway, Vons/Pavilions, Carrs, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s and Tom Thumb/Randalls stores with pharmacies across the country.

By offering walk-up flu shots, nasal mist and high-dose flu vaccines where people shop for groceries every week, Safeway makes it easy to avoid taking extra time to book appointments and make out-of-the-way trips for flu-prevention needs.

For many, convenience is the key to flu prevention. In the Safeway Seasonal Wellness Survey conducted by Kelton Research, 60% of Americans said they believe flu shots are effective at preventing the flu, yet only 51% plan to get the shot. A quarter of those surveyed said convenience and cost could keep them from getting the flu shot this year. The Safeway Seasonal Wellness Survey was conducted by Kelton Research between Aug. 3-9, 2011, using an email invitation and an online survey, which 1,000 people ages 18 and older completed.

Safeway makes getting a flu shot more convenient than most other retailers offering immunizations, because consumers visit grocery stores on a regular basis. In an average month, 49% of those surveyed said they visit grocery stores most often, compared to 8% who said they visit drugstores most often. Safeway flu shots are available during weekday and weekend hours when the majority of people do their grocery shopping.

In addition to convenience, Safeway adds extra value to its flu shot proposition by helping shoppers avoid the cost and time to visit their doctor for a flu shot. Each Safeway flu shot comes with a 10% off coupon for groceries, which is especially helpful when shopping for fall and holiday gatherings.

Safeway’s flu shots will protect against three influenza strains: H1N1, H3N2 and a B strain. Most major insurance plans cover part or all of the Safeway flu shot cost.

“Safeway is removing the barriers to health and wellness by offering flu shots in our Safeway Community Pharmacies in stores where people are already shopping most often, and where they have easy access to an abundance of nutritious foods and other items to keep their families healthy,” said Darren Singer, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness at Safeway, which operates 1,687 stores in the U.S. and western Canada. “Safeway’s flu shot program is just one example of our broader commitment to make wellness an easily attainable and convenient part of people’s everyday lives.”

Safeway’s pharmacists are immunization specialists who have given more than five million shots over the past decade to shoppers during their routine trips to the grocery store. Safeway’s immunization services include influenza, whooping cough, shingles, pneumococcal disease, meningitis, Hepatitis A/B and Human Papillomavirus.

“As a pharmacist and a busy mom, I know that it’s not always easy to put your health first. Sometimes, an ounce of prevention is difficult to achieve with full schedules of family activities and holiday events,” said Risa Vatanka, Pharm.D., pharmacist and immunization specialist at Safeway. “By offering flu shots in our pharmacies, Safeway can help people get more done in one trip to the grocery store.”

Vatanka reminds her Safeway patients that while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says flu shots are the first and most important step in protecting against the flu virus, other healthy living habits can help prevent illness this fall season, such as washing hands frequently and thoroughly, drinking plenty of water, taking vitamins and sleeping at least eight hours each night.

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