Rita McCallister is Pharmaceutical Department Manager at the Walgreens at 70th and Pioneers. One of the pharmacy’s most important products this time of year is flu shots. When asked if there were more or less vaccinations this season McCallister said, ” I think it’s more than usual since last year there was an outbreak. People are more aware to take preventative measures.” She says families come in on the weekend for the vaccinations and that older individuals come in by themselves at their own time.
Seniors, especially, get the “senior flu shot” which is a higher dosage for those over the age of 65. “It’s a trivalent shot that boosts the immune system a little bit more that the CDC recommends. Many also get the quadrivalent shot.” She says the choice is theirs over which to receive, but the CDC recommends the higher dosage. McCallister also said that most insurance companies cover the flu shot.
Seniors are also asked if they want a pneumonia shot.” We ask when they come in if they’ve had a pneumonia shot or not, and at that time the pharmacist or doctor recommends what pneumonia shot they require.” She said that there are two shots for pneumonia, one year apart. It’s recommended that they be repeated every five years, depending on the patient’s medical history.
When asked about the best time to get a flu shot McCallister said,” Typically the best time is October but it is never too late. It take about two weeks for the antibodies to be protective.” However she said that the flu season does not start at a specific time and that the pharmacy provides vaccinations and other flu medication into April. “It is unpredictable and we never know when it’s going to be.” she added.
Flu shots are given without a doctor’s note or prescription, and she said that anyone who wants them can just come get them after answering a few questions. McCallister said that the flu shot is the best way to be protected from the strain of flu virus expected to be more prevalent during the season.