Safeway and HMSA offering flu shots


POSTED: Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Hawaii Medical Service Association and Safeway Pharmacies are offering seasonal flu shots.

HMSA will provide flu shots and pneumococcal shots from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Seniors' Fair, Sept. 25-27 at the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall.

HMSA advises members to make sure they're attending a flu shot clinic sponsored by HMSA to receive free immunization.

Community HMSA clinics providing only seasonal flu shots will begin Sept. 21 at Consolidated Theatre in Mililani and Farmers Market at Ward Centre.

HMSA, HMSA 65C Plus and HMSA QUEST members 18 or older may receive free shots while supplies last. Members must show their HMSA card and a photo ID.

Medicare Part B beneficiaries who show their Medicare card and a photo ID also may receive a flu shot at no charge. Nonmembers may be vaccinated for $40.

Safeway is offering its clinics earlier than usual because of anticipated demand for flu shots, said Susan Houghton, director of public and government affairs. “;The demand in Hawaii is traditionally quite high,”; she said, noting nearly 10,000 shots were given last year.

Most stores will provide seasonal flu immunizations on a walk-in basis and some will have scheduled flu vaccine clinics. Flu shots are free to Medicare Part B participants. People without Medicare or insurance will be charged $30 for a shot. Anyone who gets vaccinated will receive a 10-percent-off coupon to shop in the store.

Seasonal flu vaccinations are recommended for people 50 and older; residents of long-term care facilities; workers providing direct care to patients; pregnant women; children and teens age 6 months to 18 years; caregivers of children under 6 months old; and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart or lung problems, HIV/AIDS or kidney disease.

People are advised to consult their doctor if they're allergic to eggs, have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past or have a form of nerve damage known as Guillain-Barre syndrome.

For HMSA flu shot clinics, see hmsa.com or call 211. For Safeway information, see www.safeway.com/flu or contact a Safeway pharmacy.