Walgreen Offers Flu Shot Gift Cards in Expanded Immunization Program

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Walgreen Co. is offering gift cards for flu shots.It may be the perfect gift for the person who has everything: a Walgreen (WAG) gift card good for one flu shot.

As part of a nationwide rollout, Walgreens will offer the gift cards as well as round-the-clock, no-appointment-necessary flu shots at each of its 7,500 locations, including Take Care Clinics and Duane Reed stores. The expanded program includes direct medical billing agreements with UnitedHealthcare (UNH), CIGNA (CI) and some regional providers.

Traditional Shots and Nasal Spray

The price for traditional flu shots is set at $29.99, and most Walgreens stores will also offer the FluMist Intranasal Spray for $34.99. Only one flu shot is required this season, as the 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against H1N1 as well as two other seasonal flu viruses -- an influenza B and the H3N2 virus.

Flu-shot gift cards are available at all Walgreens stores nationwide and online.

Jason Wolfe, CEO of swapagift.com and giftcards.com, said the idea to offer a gift card for a flu shot is certainly novel.

"Flu season is coming up, and people like gift cards, so it makes sense," says Wolfe. "I'm not sure there will be too much swapping of these cards, but it's still a good idea."

Protection from Three Viruses

Walgreens administered more than 7 million seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccinations last season. This time around -- flu season usually begins in November and runs through the spring -- Walgreens has 25,000 immunizers on deck to give the shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the vaccine for everyone over the age of six months. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine protects against H1N1 influenza as well as the seasonal viruses.

"We encourage everyone to follow the CDC's recommendations, and with flu shots available during nearly all pharmacy and clinic hours at Walgreens, it's never been easier, never more convenient and never more accessible," Walgreens President and CEO Greg Wasson said in a statement Tuesday.

Walgreens shares rose 20 cents to close at $28.22.
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