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Archive for the ‘H1N1 News’

Vaccines are not just for children

September 27, 2010 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, HealthCare, Medicine Advice, Medtipster, Prescription News, Prescription Savings

www.Medtipster.com Source: The New York Times, 9.24.10 – by Lesley Alderman

About 11,500 cases of whooping cough, or pertussis, have been reported nationwide so far this year. In California, where the infections are nearing a record high, nine infants have died.

It is likely that some of those children had not received all their shots, experts say. But some of those deaths might have been prevented if more adults, too, had been immunized.

Though public health authorities have long recommended that adults get a pertussis booster shot, just half have done so. Without it, they risk passing this illness to vulnerable children.

“Almost everyone understands how important it is for children to be immunized,” said Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “but adults need vaccines too.”

Far too few get them. The C.D.C. recommends that people 19 and older receive immunizations against as many as 14 infectious diseases. (Not all adults require every vaccine.) Yet most adults rarely think about getting the shots — until they step on a rusty nail or begin planning travel to a developing country.

Only 7 percent of Americans over age 60, for instance, have received the herpes zoster vaccine, which prevents shingles, a painful nerve infection. Just 11 percent of young women have received the vaccine against the two types of human papilloma virus that cause 70 percent of all cervical cancers.

Why are adults so behind on vaccinations? For one thing, the shots can be expensive (from $20 to $200 a dose for some, and some require three doses). But a bigger part of the problem is a lack of awareness. Doctors often fail to remind patients that they require booster shots, and consumers are not well informed about the need.

In a 2007 survey by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, 40 percent of respondents incorrectly stated that, if they had received vaccines as a child, they did not need them again; 18 percent said vaccines were not necessary for adults.

The new health care law should help get more adults to roll up their sleeves. Under the law, group and individual health plans, as well as Medicare, must provide preventive health services, including immunizations recommended by the C.D.C., free of charge. That means no co-payments, co-insurance or deductibles.

The hope is that since vaccines will be free, more doctors will suggest them and more patients will ask for them, said Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health, a nonprofit group that works to prevent epidemics.

Here’s the catch. If you are in a group or individual health plan, your plan must be new, or it must have undergone substantial changes, in order for the new requirements to apply. In addition, certain recent vaccine recommendations will not be covered right away. If you are uncertain, call your insurer.

Adult immunizations are not just an important way to prevent the spread of disease. Immunizations are also a phenomenally cost-effective way to preserve health.

“When you compare the cost of getting sick with these diseases to the cost of a vaccine, it’s a modest investment,” said Dr. Robert H. Hopkins, a professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

If you end up in the emergency room with a bad case of the flu or pneumonia, your bill could be thousands of dollars. A flu shot is just $20, or often free; the pneumonia vaccine is about $77.

Here is how to get up-to-date on your shots — whether you have a new insurance plan, an old plan or no plan at all.

THE VACCINES YOU NEED Tear out the immunization chart accompanying this article or print it out online. Note the vaccines you should be getting, based on your age and health status.

This year, for the first time, the C.D.C. recommends that everyone, regardless of age or health, get an influenza shot. Most people need only one. This year the flu shot provides protection against the H1N1 virus and two seasonal viruses.

Most other vaccines are intended for specific age groups or for those with particular risk factors. The zoster vaccine, for example, has been tested only in older people. There is little evidence that it could benefit younger people, whose immune systems are still strong.

Next, figure out which vaccines you have already received. Your doctor should be able to help. But if you have switched physicians a number of times, you may have to reconstruct your history on your own.

“When in doubt, get vaccinated,” said Dr. Hopkins. “There’s very little risk with getting a second dose of a vaccine.”

IF YOU HAVE INSURANCE Call your primary care physician and explain that you would like to get your vaccinations updated.

Some offices do not stock vaccines, so it is wise to tell the staff in advance what you will need. You may find that certain vaccines are not available right away; your doctor can tell you where to find them, or how long the wait will be.

Next, call your insurer and ask if they will cover vaccines free of charge. If not, ask how much they charge. If the fees are high, see below for alternate options.

IF YOU LACK COVERAGE You can still pay out-of-pocket for immunizations at the doctor’s office, of course. But the shots may be less expensive at other places.

YOUR HEALTH DEPARTMENT If money is tight, find out if your state or community health department provides vaccinations for adults. Unfortunately, there is no federally funded program for adult immunizations, only for children.

The C.D.C. Web site provides an interactive map to help locate the health department or immunization clinic in your area.

YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY Many retail clinics administer vaccines, including CVS MinuteClinics and Walgreens Take Care Clinics. MinuteClinics offer 10 vaccines for adults, including shots for hepatitis A ($117) and B ($102), meningitis ($147), pneumococcal disease ($77) and DTaP, which protects you from diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis ($82).

There are 500 CVS clinics across the country, and all are open seven days a week. No appointments or prescriptions are necessary. Walgreens clinics offer travel vaccines, like the one for typhoid fever, as well.

Even if your local pharmacy does not have a clinic, you may be able to get some of the shots you need there. In all states, pharmacists are licensed to give flu shots; in some states, they can administer other vaccines as well, like the one to protect against pneumonia.

Check with a local pharmacy and find out what shots they are licensed to provide and at what cost.

Find a local pharmacy nearest your home that offers your vaccine at the lowest price at www.medtipster.com >

YOUR EMPLOYER Inquire at your company’s human resources or wellness office. Some companies provide free flu shots for employees, as well as their families. Few companies provide other vaccines, but it can’t hurt to ask.

Remember that when you get immunized, you are not only ensuring your own good health but the health of those around you.

Flu shot in the mail? Microneedles may make that possible, or just buy it at a drug store

July 19, 2010 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, HealthCare, Medtipster, Prescription News

www.Medtipster.com Source: Associated Press (AP) – by RANDOLPH E. SCHMID – 7.18.2010

WASHINGTON (AP) – One day your annual flu shot could come in the mail.

At least that’s the hope of researchers developing a new method of vaccine delivery that people could even use at home: a patch with microneedles.

Microneedles?

That’s right, tiny little needles so small you don’t even feel them. Attached to a patch like a Band-Aid, the little needles barely penetrate the skin before they dissolve and release their vaccine.

Researchers led by Mark Prausnitz of Georgia Institute of Technology reported their research on microneedles in Sunday’s edition of Nature Medicine.

The business side of the patch feels like fine sandpaper, he said. In tests of microneedles without vaccine, people rated the discomfort at one-tenth to one-twentieth that of getting a standard injection, he said. Nearly everyone said it was painless.

Some medications are already delivered by patches, such as nicotine patches for people trying to quit smoking. That’s simply absorbed through the skin. But attempts to develop patches with the flu vaccine absorbed through the skin have not been successful so far.

In the Georgia Tech work, the vaccine is still injected. But the needles are so small that they don’t hurt and it doesn’t take any special training to use this kind of patch.

So two problems are solved right away — fear of needles, and disposal of leftover hypodermic needles.

“The goal has been a means to administer the vaccine that is patient friendly,” Mark R. Prausnitz of Georgia Tech said in a telephone interview.

That means “not only not hurting or looking scary, but that patients could self-administer,” he said, and people would be more likely to get the flu vaccine.

By developing needles that dissolve, there are no leftover sharp needles, especially important for people who might give themselves the vaccine at home, he said.

The patch, which has been tested on mice, was developed in collaboration by researchers at Georgia Tech and Emory University, Prausnitz said. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health. The researchers are now seeking funds to begin tests in people and, if all goes well, the patch could be in use in five years, he said.

Flu vaccination is recommended for nearly everyone, every year, and that’s a big burden on the public health network, Prausnitz noted. Many people don’t get the shot because it’s inconvenient, but if they could get in mail or at the pharmacy they might do so, he said.

The patch is placed on the skin and left for 5 minutes to 15 minutes, he said. It can remain longer without doing any damage, he said. In tests on mice, the miocroneedles delivered a correct dose of the flu vaccine.

The little needles are 650 microns (three-hundredths of an inch) in length and there are 100 on the patch used in the mouse study.

Asked if the term “microneedle” might still frighten some folks averse to shots, Prausnitz said he was confident that marketers would come up with a better term before any sales began.

Swine Flu for Dummies

November 13, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

fordummies

Swine Flu for Dummies

With the H1N1 vaccine supply growing, many are still unsure whether or not to be vaccinated.

I have read article after article about pros and cons of receiving the H1N1 Vaccine. Some are waiting in line, scurrying around town, calling and checking daily for the status of the local availability, and some simply don’t want it at all. Regardless of your opinion of action, it’s important to know the facts!

Let’s say, every year for Thanksgiving, my Aunt Judy makes sugar cookies. Every year she adds a yummy topping in the form of the most popular candy that year, like a reese’s peanut butter cup, or mini-snickers. But, this year, there are two candies that are the most popular, M&M’s and gumdrops. So, she made two batches of sugar cookies, one with M&M’s and the other with gumdrops!

That’s a simple analogy to understand what the H1N1 strain is really all about. You see, every year, the vaccine is administered according to what the experts are predicting will infect the population. That particular “strain” is similar to the sugar cookie’s topping, it changes from year to year. This year, however, there are two types of strains predicted to spread, the seasonal flu (we’ll call that the gumdrop sugar cookie) and the H1N1 flu (the M&M sugar cookie).

Medtipster.com is dedicated to bringing you the latest on the availability of both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations, as well as key information for you and your family. We are working hard to make sure our database is second to NONE (we mean that!). We know there are other internet sources of H1N1 vaccine locators, and we are thrilled to know that these sources are working just as hard as we are to keep the public informed. However, upon comparison, our database is up to date, accurate, and contains address, phone number, map location, pricing and even notes from the administering clinic.

Now, if all I’ve done here is strengthen your sweet tooth, there are great resources that will explain the details of the H1N1 virus, how to protect yourself from becoming infected, the symptoms of the illness, etc. I’ve listed some great resources below.

H1N1 Response Center by Microsoft: https://h1n1.cloudapp.net/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/

The Lancet: http://www.thelancet.com/H1N1-flu

WWJ Newsradio 950 – Michigan: http://www.wwj.com/pages/5367286.php

PS- Happy Friday the 13th!

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

H1N1 Vaccine Now Available at 123 Locations in Ten States

November 05, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

While many wait for the latest information from their local news source, Medtipster.com announces the following have the H1N1 vaccine available:

pathmark

Six Pathmark Supermarkets in NJ offer H1N1 vaccine

A & P Supermarket – 7 stores in New Jersey
Butlers Pharmacy – 1 store in New Jersey
Harmon’s Grocery Store – 9 stores in Utah
CVS’s Minute Clinics – 9 clinics in Florida, Virginia, Michigan, & Missouri
Pathmark Supermarket – 6 stores in New Jersey
Smith’s Food and Drug – 22 stores in Utah
Walmart’s Solantic Clinic – 3 clinics in Florida
Super Fresh Markets – 1 store in New Jersey
Walgreen’s Take Care Clinics – 42 stores in Tennessee, Florida, Nevada, Missouri, Washington & Ohio
Walgreen’s – 18 stores in Utah
Safeway – 2 stores in Washington
Medicap Pharmacy – 1 store in Washington
La Conner Drug – 1 store in Washington
Fred Meyer – 1 store in Washington

The stores with the vaccine available are currently in our database. If you live in one of the above mentioned areas, please visit http://medtipster.com/services.php?type=shots and select H1N1 from the drop down menu and enter you zip code for a list of the locations nearest you.

Continue to visit www.medtipster.com for updates as we receive information on more stores with the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines. Bookmark our home page, add us to your favorites, join our facebook fan page, follow us on twitter! Stay up to date with the latest news on healthcare with Medtipster.com!

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Short on Vaccine, Tall on Profit?

November 03, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

blackout03

Satellite Image of the Blackout of 2003

Will shortages of seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines cause cost increase?

The State of Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal wrote inquiries to 13 different manufacturers of the seasonal flu vaccine, in an effort to ensure the price of these immunizations are staying at the national average price. His office has received complaints that suspect previously negotiated agreements between manufacturers of the vaccine have been reneged, causing clinics and pharmacies to stop offering shots, increase the price, or altogether close doors to consumers.

In my last blog, I showed you a picture of a large retail chain’s pharmacy posting of an 8.5” by 11” white sheet of paper with a typed notice, “FLU SHOTS CANCELLED.” Is this an indication that manufacturers and suppliers are going to pull a “black-out” on us? Remember August 13, 2003 when most northeast and midwest states were powerless for hours and, in some cases, days? Remember what happened at gas stations? In Michigan, we saw lines of cars stretching for a half mile from gas stations to fill up on gas for over $5.00 a gallon!

Will flu shot prices double or triple at some pharmacies? Think about this: a neighborhood pharmacy in a small town knows the vaccine is limited, and there is an easy way to double or perhaps triple a profit. Will they do that to their customers? Will you know if these prices are standard in comparison to the other chain pharmacies, like CVS, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, or Target?

Price comparing on vaccinations is not as easy as price comparing a new washer and dryer from Sears. You won’t get Progressive Car Insurance’s “price comparison” leader board when you walk through your pharmacy’s door. You can’t place a bid on EBay for your healthcare. And definitely don’t expect to see William Shatner, aka “priceline negotiator,” standing in your hallway ready to break out the best deal for you on your healthcare, vaccinations or prescriptions! He’s just good for deals on vacations, you know, since we can all afford* to take one!

Medtipster.com is the only website specifically designed to locate these vaccinations for you, at the lowest cost available, in your neighborhood. Don’t spend hours calling pharmacies, searching online or driving around when www.medtipster.com has the information you need.

*Sarcasm.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

We Apologize for the Inconvenience

November 03, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

flushotscancelled Pharmacies cancel seasonal flu shots due to the demand for H1N1 vaccine.

When I saw this picture, I immediately thought, “wow, how frustrating for the people who showed up to get a flu shot only to read this sign in disappointment.” Then I sat down to begin blogging about it, and had nothing but writer’s block, or so I thought.

Nope, I don’t have writer’s block. This picture is worth a thousand words!

I have a continuous search running on my twitter tweetdeck for H1N1 and every minute of every day, at least one new tweet mentions H1N1. Everyone is seriously concerned about swine flu! What is most important is preventing it and treating it by knowing when and where the vaccine is available, and where to go for treatment if you have symptoms.

And I just want to shout it from the rooftops! Medtipster.com has this information available! It’s there, I promise! You won’t have to drive around looking and hoping to find the flu shot somewhere. We know what pharmacies have the seasonal flu shot AND the H1N1 vaccine. We know supplies are limited, we know the country is in a panic, we know the frustration people are feeling. Medtipster.com was designed to help!

Medtipster.com is the trusted source for the latest information this flu season! Share this with your friends, your family, your co-workers, your dog walker, even your enemies, whom perhaps would be happy to give you their swine flu!

Avoid the inconvenience, the apologies, and most of all, the headache. Stay informed with www.medtipster.com.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

Five Million, Six Hundred Fifty Six Thousand – But, Who’s Counting?

October 30, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Tylar Masters

Tylar Masters

The actual number of confirmed cases of swine flu could be nearly 140 times greater than originally reported.

The swine flu has everyone talking, and everyone concerned in one way or another. It’s a topic we hear about daily in the news. The shortage of the H1N1 vaccine has sent millions into a panic, especially those with young children or caretakers of elders, who are at the highest risk.

The number of laboratory confirmed cases from April 2009 to July 2009 is approximately 44,000 in the United States alone. But what if that number is completely inaccurate? How would that effect the supply of the H1N1 vaccine now that flu season is here and we’ve entered into the “fall swing” of the swine flu? Answer: Tremendously.

The truth is that the estimate could be off just a little. Like 5,656,000, but who’s counting? Well, every single concerned American for one! According to researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Harvard School of Public Health, the actual number of infected individuals in the United States is between 1.8 million and 5.7 million. That’s up to 140 times greater than the earlier reported 44,000 infected Americans.

The CDC and Harvard suggest that “health systems and infrastructure may be unprepared in the short-term if plans are based on a number of confirmed cases.” That being said, knowing the true number of confirmed cases seems like a high priority.

Resources: Bloomberg, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harvard School of Public Health

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

New Link to Microsoft Powered H1N1 Response Center

October 29, 2009 By: Tylar Masters Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Tylar Masters

Tylar Masters

Helpful Link Directs Users to Microsoft Powered H1N1 Response Center

Medtipster.com has added a new feature to the website to help consumers determine if their symptoms align with seasonal flu or H1N1 swine flu. By clicking on the “Helpful Links” tab on the menu bar from any of Medtipster.com’s pages, the “Flu Self-Assessment,” licensed by Emory University, and powered by Microsoft, will walk consumers through a series of questions and will provide a suggestion as to whether the symptoms are flu-like or possibly another illness.

It’s always important to talk to your physician about your health concerns. Medtipster.com and Microsoft’s H1N1 Response Center does not provide medical advice and does not replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Medtipster.com and Microsoft cannot guarantee and is not responsible for the accuracy of the guidance for your situation. We encourage you to evaluate it carefully and take the following into consideration:

  • If you are worried about your health, call your doctor.
  • If you do not have a doctor, go to a walk-in clinic (Medtipster.com’s mini-clinic search will help you find one in your neighborhood)
  • If you think you have an emergency, call 9-1-1.

For more information on the seasonal flu or H1N1 swine flu, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/.

Tylar Masters
Manager of Marketing and Communications
Medtipster, LLC.
email: tmasters@medtipster.com
web address: www.medtipster.com

A&P working with ESI Medical to conduct flu shot clinics

October 06, 2009 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company has partnered with ESI Medical to conduct seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccination clinics in 250 stores in six states until Dec. 23. The company also is offering a “buy one, get one free” deal on flu shots to customers who use their Club Cards to purchase $100 worth of beauty care and health products.

Find your nearest A&P Pharmacy by using medtipster.com

Kroger Offers Flu Shots At Their 1,900+ In-Store Phamacies

September 18, 2009 By: Nadia Category: H1N1 News, Medtipster

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

Nádia - your personal pharmacy cost adviser

The Kroger Companys Family of Pharmacies is making it easy and affordable for customers to take steps to keep themselves and their families healthy by getting seasonal flu immunizations early.

This year, Krogers more than 1,900 in-store pharmacies will again offer convenient access to seasonal flu vaccines at an affordable price. Flu vaccines will be administered by Krogers own Certified Immunizing Pharmacists for $25 per vaccine. During the 2008-2009 flu season, the Kroger Family of Pharmacies administered nearly 1 million flu vaccinations.

Find your nearest Kroger Pharmacy by using medtipster.com

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