VA is ready for the 2019-2020 flu season

Free flu shots at VA and Walgreens (with ID)


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With flu season approaching, Veterans have two options through VA for getting a no-cost flu vaccination nationwide.

Like previous years, free flu shots will be given at all VA Medical Centers and Community Based Outpatient Clinics. A Veteran simply needs to visit any VA medical facility and ask for a vaccination or ask their primary care physician for a flu shot during an appointment.

Veterans can also receive a no-cost vaccination is through the VA-Walgreens partnership. There are 9,600 Walgreens pharmacies nationally. The Veteran simply needs to visit a Walgreens pharmacy and present their Veterans Health Identification Card and one other form of photo ID to receive a vaccination.

Huge increase in the number of vaccinations

Since the program’s inception in 2014-2015 the number of vaccinations has increased dramatically. The first year, less than 20,000 shots were provided; last year’s campaign delivered 104,993 vaccinations. The final cost to the taxpayer was $3,181,058.50.

Over 50% of those vaccinations given were to rural or extremely rural veterans, a notoriously underserved population. In total this partnership has delivered approximately 1.5 million no-cost vaccinations to VHA registered Veterans since 2014.

“Our partnership with Walgreens for the past five years 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 325,000 vaccinations on behalf of the VA,” said Elizabeth Tyler, VA’s program manager for the Retail Immunization Program.

“We expect that partnership to grow even more strong and effective for our current 2019-2020 season with an estimated delivery of 175,000 vaccinations between August 2019 and the end of March 2020,” she said.

Another perk of the VA-Walgreens partnership is information sharing. When a Walgreens pharmacist administers the shot, the immunization information is transmitted to VA through the eHealth Exchange. The immunization becomes part of the Veteran’s VA health record. The Walgreens immunization records are automatically available for VA clinicians to review within 24 hours.

For the 2019-2020 flu season, the no-cost option is for the quadrivalent version of the vaccine only. There will be no high-dose option this year at either VA medical facilities or Walgreens.

To find your nearest participating Walgreens partner, call 800-WALGREENs (800-925-4733), or go to www.walgreens.com/findastore.

For more information about this benefit, visit www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/veterans/immunization.asp.


Glenn A. Johnson is the chief of Health Care Media for the VHA Office of Community Care.

Author

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Comments

  1. Norman    

    This site is not working very efficiently. It causes too much stress and anxiety. That is your secret goal here, huh?

  2. Norman    

    Why has the high dose option been eliminated?
    Why did you make posting a comment so difficult?

    1. Petrie Phillip C    

      Isn’t obvious the Administration and the VA CARE so much about the health of our Nation’s Veterans that they looked at the growth and cost in the number of shots administered and decided to cut costs on the high risk older Veterans that are the primary candidates for death by flu. I not sure what the price difference between the quad shot and the stronger high risk shot is but even if they cost the same Millions of dollars can be saved by the death of every high risk veteran that dies from the flu or complications of their other illnesses aggravated by the flu. Most have complicated expensive diseases requiring lots of care, expensive prescriptions, in patient care and pensions. Just imagine how much they can save if they ignore CDC and NIH recommendations for use of the stronger shots.
      I had to go twice to my local VA shot Clinic to get my shot this year. The first time I asked for the high dose shot the nurse lied and said they didn’t have the high dose yet and I could come back to see if it came in.

      A little over a week later I went to the same clinic with a different nurse assigned to give shots. When I asked for the high risk shot and described my qualifications he said the computer had a note I was to get the standard shot only but they did have the high risk dose. But the computer said I couldn’t get it. I asked him the check with my team and Primary Care doctor ‍⚕️. He came back and said by PC Dr wouldn’t approve it. While he was out I read the data sheet he was handing out after you got standard shot. It clearly stated that veterans of 65 with high risk diseases should get the high dose shot. He told me I got the normal dose in the same clinic last year and I disagreed and said I got the high risk shot. He said I could get the one he was or I could go somewhere else but I might have pay because the VA would not. He never mentioned the Walgreens partnership nor is anything posted around the shot clinic or any VA employee mentioned Walgreens as a source of a free shot. I still wouldn’t use them because the VA only allows to give the normal but not high dose shot
      Not giving up I went to the patient advocates office but she was not there today and no information about when she would returns. Another VA employee saw I was angry and frustrated and said I should go to the 1-Stop Shop. I did and that was almost a disaster but one great employee was researching my VA records and found I was getting them outside the VA. I gave the flyer they were handing out and she couldn’t explain why I couldn’t get the high risk shot as she confirmed they had the high risk vaccine . She asked to wait while she looked for an answer. 40 minutes later she returned with two nurses that said they were Flu coordinators and educators ‍. However even the 1-Stop people didn’t know they existed and they are not posted anywhere around the VA. It took the 1-Stop hero ‍♀️ to find them.

      They explained the clinic ordered a large amount of the quad vaccine but only 700 does of high risk and regardless of national standards and advertising the VA decided they would only issue the high dose by special doctors authorizations of the high risk dose to veterans of 85 years old. They didn’t know the reason and nothing was posted or sent to local veterans telling them this policy change.

      I can only believe that is a money saving policy and that a lot of veterans between 65 and 85 are more prone to get the flu and die. I bet the employee that came up with this decision gets a whopping bonus this year for cost savings.

  3. Julius    

    Glad to be here. This is actually my first time here and hope to learn more here stuffs here. Have a great week

  4. Bague Couronne    

    Be sure to take the vaccin on time. It saved the life of my father during last winter.
    Thank you to doctors to create such good medecine !

  5. Bague Couronne    

    Be sure to take the vaccin on time. It saved the life of my father during last winter.
    Thank you to doctors to create such good medecine !

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