Five Questions With: Anne Brown

With flu season in full swing, the most recent COVID-19 vaccines are available at CVS Health Corp. pharmacies across the U.S. Anne Brown, pharmacy district leader for CVS, spoke to PBN about these new vaccines.

PBN: How are the updated COVID-19 vaccines different from the previous ones?

BROWN: The new mRNA vaccines are formulated to more closely target currently circulating variants and to provide better protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, according to the FDA [Food and Drug Administration].

 

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PBN: Who is most at risk for getting infected with COVID-19, the flu or RSV?

BROWN: Individuals of any age are susceptible to COVID-19, the flu or RSV [respiratory syncytial virus]. However, with all three viruses, the risk of developing serious health conditions increases with age. Most commonly, middle-age and older adults and those with weakened immune systems and underlying health issues are at the highest risk of developing serious side effects. Having said that, the decision to vaccinate an individual patient should be based on a discussion between a pharmacist or health care provider and the patient.

PBN: When is the best time of year for people to get the flu, COVID-19 and RSV vaccines and why?

BROWN: According to the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], individuals should get their flu and COVID-19 vaccine early in the fall, before the flu and cold season begins, and ideally no later than the end of October. The CDC also recommends RSV vaccination for adults 60 or older before the onset of the fall and winter RSV season.

PBN: How is CVS specifically participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program?

BROWN: Reducing leading barriers such as access and availability to COVID-19 vaccines is critical. All CVS Pharmacy locations are participating in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program, which provides free COVID-19 vaccinations to the uninsured adults and adults who are in-network where their insurance does not cover all COVID-19 vaccine costs.

PBN: How have you seen vaccination rates change because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

BROWN: The pandemic elevated pharmacies at the forefront of COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and treatment, highlighting the pharmacy’s role as a convenient and accessible destination for care. We met our patients’ needs by providing more than 88 million COVID-19 vaccines during the pandemic and continue to offer CDC-recommended vaccines for COVID-19, flu, RSV and more than15 other preventative vaccines.

Katie Castellani is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at Castellani@PBN.com.