Rhode Island-based CVS Caremark Corporation's ( CVS) retail division — CVS/pharmacy — recently reported the results of an online survey conducted by the Harris Poll on its behalf in the U.S. Per the study results, 61% of the adult U.S. population is oblivious that adults aged 65 years or more require high-dose flu vaccine to prevent senior influenza.
An influenza vaccine is mostly a free-of-cost service that lowers the chance of an individual getting infected. As per the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), everyone aged 6 months and above should get this vaccine to avoid getting infected.
The Harris Poll Survey
One of the leading market research firms, Harris Interactive's proprietary weekly column — The Harris Poll — conducted an online consumer survey between Jul 23–25, 2014 among 2,079 U.S. adults, aged 18 years and above.
The survey revealed that three among every five Americans are unaware about the significance of high-dose flu vaccines for seniors. These vaccines consist four times stronger antigens than those present in regular ones.
Since senior citizens usually tend to have a weaker immune system and are more susceptible to developing severe flu-related complications, they need these high-dose vaccines to inculcate a stronger resistance.
Per the study, nearly 30% of Americans influence healthcare decisions of a senior member of the family and can thereby make them aware of the need for the vaccine. Evidently, almost 58% of Americans aged 18-64 agreed to recommend the high dose vaccine to citizens aged 65 years or above.
According to CDC's estimate, each year, 90% of seasonal flu-related deaths and over 60% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. occur among people aged 65 years and more. Considering this, it is expected that 63% of those aged 65 years and more will contemplate getting a high-dose flu vaccine.
CVS Caremark's Flu Vaccines
While CVS/pharmacy is a leading retail pharmacy in the U.S., MinuteClinic — the retail medical clinic division of CVS Caremark — is the fastest growing provider of walk-in retail medical clinic services in the U.S. Flu vaccines are accessible at both CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic, including high-dose flu shots for senior citizens.
Currently, more than 7,600 CVS/pharmacy stores and 850 MinuteClinics at chosen CVS/pharmacy locations provide flu shots every day of the week. Additionally, a number of other vaccinations, including pneumonia and pertussis (whooping cough), are available.
Recently, two MinuteClinic walk-in clinics have been opened in California's Sacramento area bringing the total count to over 50 locations in California including the Bay Area launch in fall 2013.
It has been found that over 35% of Americans who received a flu shot prefer clinics at a convenient location. With CVS/pharmacy store and MinuteClinic outlets spread over such a wide region, more people are expected to come and receive their vaccines on time. Per the study, 59% of U.S. adults have planned to get the flu shot in 2014.
Also, CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic offer flu vaccines at affordable rates. Additionally, these vaccines are listed under the Affordable Care Act as a preventive service and are fully covered through most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B. CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic can directly bill many national and regional health plans that cover all or part of the flu shot cost.
Moreover, customers will receive 20% discount on the CVS/pharmacy Shopping Pass once they get a flu shot at CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic. The Shopping Pass can be used with the CVS/pharmacy ExtraCare Rewards card to save 20% on non-pharmacy purchases up to $100.2.
Currently, CVS Caremark carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical sector include Alphatec Holdings, Inc. ( ATEC), RTI Surgical Inc. ( RTIX) and Bacterin International Holdings, Inc. ( BONE). While Alphatec and RTI Surgical sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Bacterin holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).