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Rite Aid’s Chief Pharmacy Officer Shares Everything We Need To Know About The Flu Shot This Year

There are a lot of confusing beliefs about the flu shot out there, so we decided to cut through the noise. LittleThings chatted with Rite Aid’s executive vice president and chief pharmacy officer, Jocelyn Konrad, about all the flu shot facts your family needs to know this year.

First off, Jocelyn made it clear who should be getting the flu shot.

“Flu vaccinations are important for your entire family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot early,” she shared.

“We at Rite Aid are encouraging all age groups to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help maintain a healthy immune system as we strive to keep our communities thriving.”

The flu shot has been made available in a lot of places, so the doctor’s visits aren’t necessary. That makes some people skeptical about the quality of both the vaccine and the care that they’re receiving. Jocelyn assures us that you can expect quality on both fronts.

“Our Rite Aid neighborhood pharmacies offer the same flu vaccinations as those administered in your doctor’s office. This year, there are four different flu vaccinations available at Rite Aid,” she explained.

“Quadrivalent flu vaccine is the most commonly administered vaccine amongst adults and children, and provides protection against four strains of the flu: influenza A H3N2 virus, influenza A H1N1 virus, and two strains of influenza B virus,” she continued.

“FLUAD, a quadrivalent vaccine with adjuvant, an ingredient that helps create a stronger immune response to vaccination, is approved for people 65 and older.

“Fluzone HD is a high-dose vaccine indicated for patients 65 and older.

“Flublok is a unique vaccine that is processed without EGG, indicated for patients 18 and older suffering from egg allergies.”

“Our team of certified immunizing pharmacists are in our stores seven days a week to serve as the health advocates our customers can depend on for guidance this flu season,” Jocelyn stressed.

“In addition to administering vaccinations, our trusted pharmacists will offer you a holistic approach to health and wellness. They can share insights into the other ancillary vaccines you may need and recommend the best immune-boosting vitamins and supplements to take in order to stay as healthy as possible this cold and flu season.

“Additionally, our pharmacists can provide information on steps like handwashing and other everyday preventative actions to protect themselves and their families.”

We’ve been hearing a lot about how it’s important to get the flu shot at the right time. We asked Jocelyn what that time is and if it’s still worth getting if you miss it. She assured us it’s important regardless of time.

“We are encouraging our customers to get a flu shot as early as possible since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to become effective. It is never too late to get your flu shot, and we are encouraging all families to visit their local pharmacy to get themselves and their loved ones vaccinated,” she explained.

This year, it’s more important to get the flu shot because we’re still battling against COVID-19. Jocelyn explained the connection between the two.

“As the country continues to navigate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this flu season will be the most important in a generation. Flu shots are the best way to help protect ourselves and others during flu season, as well as to help ease the burden on the health system,” she noted.

“As your neighborhood health and wellness destination, we are committed to keeping our communities healthy and thriving, and this starts with encouraging as many people as possible to get a flu vaccination.”

Flu shot aside, there’s a lot that families can do to protect their health as we move into the cold-weather months.

“As we look ahead to the winter, getting a flu shot is the best way to reduce your chances of contracting the flu. Even if one of your family members comes down with the flu, by getting vaccinated their symptoms will be milder and their chances of developing severe complications will be lower,” Jocelyn said.

“Aside from getting vaccinated, there are several other protective measures that families can take this winter to stay as healthy as possible. Practicing good hygiene, like washing your hands often with soap and water, is the best way to kill germs. Additionally, a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is great to carry around with you when you are on the go. It is also important to remember to disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your household — everything from your phone and computer keyboard to doorknobs and lights switches.”

“If you start feeling symptoms, I recommend contacting your provider as soon as possible. Flu symptoms and COVID are similar, and your provider can help you determine if you need to be tested. If it turns out you have the flu, you may be prescribed anti-viral medication. The key is early diagnosis as the medication should be started within 48 hours of symptoms,” she continued.

“There are also several immune-boosting products and supplements available at your local Rite Aid that can help you keep up a strong immune system. Vitamin C is essential for strong immunity and can even shorten the duration of cold symptoms. Other helpful supplements include zinc, which is found in cells throughout the body and may help the immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. You can also support your immunity with elderberry, which provides the body with antioxidants and supports natural immune response.”

Jocelyn assures us that your neighborhood Rite Aid pharmacy will have everything you need to navigate your health in the months ahead.

“At Rite Aid, we sell these vitamins in a wide array of forms to appeal to your entire family. We encourage you to visit your neighborhood store and check out our selection of dissolvable tablets, lozenges, coated caplets, fruit drops, soothing sprays, organic pops, syrups, fizzy drinks, and more,” she noted.

“Finally, it is important for all families to do their part in maintaining social distancing practices and wearing the proper facial coverings, in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 this winter.”