84 ;e Costco Connection JUNE 2015
By Kerry Johnson
A COUPLE OF years ago, while my mom was visiting me in the Seattle area, health officials declared a
whooping cough epidemic. Washington state was
experiencing the worst outbreak of pertussis in
decades, and all adults were urged to get vaccinated.
I told my mom she should go to Costco for her
shot. “Costco offers vaccines?” she said. “I didn’t
Michael Mastromonica, assistant vice president
of Costco’s pharmacy services, hears that a lot. He
says that although Costco Pharmacies are often men-
tioned in national and local news media for their low
prescription drug prices (see “Savings you can count
on”), many people don’t know about the other
money-saving services they offer. These include
immunizations, health screenings and helpful con-
sultations with any of the on-duty pharmacists.
I sat down with Michael and other members of
the pharmacy team to learn more about the various
ways Costco Pharmacies care for members’ health.
The goal, Michael says, is to be a place where people
can get a wide variety of their health needs met.
A shot at low prices
Costco has offered flu shots for many years, but
more recently added a full vaccination program.
Now, in addition to flu shots, which are seasonal,
Costco offers a full range of year-round adult immunization services, including vaccines for shingles,
pneumonia, whooping cough, hepatitis and cervical
cancer. To administer vaccines, a pharmacist must
go through a national certification program, which
all of Costco’s pharmacists have completed.
Costco generally offers immunizations to
patients who are at least 9 years old, though the vaccines and ages vary by state. No appointment is necessary, Michael says. Just stop in whenever the
pharmacy is open.
“Just come in and ask for your shot,” he says,
“and assuming the shot is appropriate for you, you
can get it at 8 o’clock at night, you can get it at 10 in
the morning, you can get it on a Saturday.”
Best of all, he notes, “the savings are going to be
pretty significant. Our flu shots are probably the
best example. They are $14.99 at Costco. Other
places, they’re as high as $35 or $40.”
He also mentions Zostavax, the vaccine for
varicella zoster, or shingles. Shingles is a painful skin
rash that most commonly occurs in people age 50 or
older, and the vaccine is a one-time dose.
“Typically we would give a Zostavax immunization for about $210,” says Michael. “The same
immunization at another pharmacy might be $250.”
are your prescription
for complete health
Freelance writer Kerry
Johnson fills this
reporter slot with this
look at a Costco program. Send questions
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