Fears of coronavirus second wave prompt influenza push at U.S. pharmacies

U.S. pharmacy chains are preparing a major push for influenza vaccinations when the season begins in October, hoping to curb tens of thousands of serious cases that could coincide with a second wave of coronavirus infections.

U.S. pharmacy chains are preparing a major push for influenza vaccinations when the season begins in October, hoping to curb tens of thousands of serious cases that could coincide with a second wave of coronavirus infections. CVS Health said it is working to ensure it has vaccine doses available for an anticipated surge in customers seeking shots to protect against seasonal influenza. Rite Aid has ordered 40% more vaccine doses to meet the expected demand. Walmart and Walgreens Boots Alliance said they also are expecting more Americans to seek these vaccines. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted May 13-19 found that approximately 60% of U.S. adults plan to get the influenza vaccine in the fall, well above the normal rate. Public health officials have said vaccination against influenza will be critical to help prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed with influenza and COVID-19 patients. Pharmacies and other influenza vaccine providers may need to develop drive-up clinics for vaccines, said Nancy Messonnier, MD, director of CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Rite Aid Chief Pharmacy Officer Jocelyn Konrad said the pharmacy chain, which provided about 2.6 million influenza immunizations last year, increased its order by 40% this year.