Lembo flu shot

Lembo gets a flu shot (Office of the State Comptroller)

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo invited the media to join him as he got a flu shot at Suburban Pharmacy in West Hartford Monday, part of an effort to encourage men to get vaccinated and to tout a  new policy allowing state employees to get coverage for flu shots administered at local pharmacies.

Lembo encouraged everyone to get flu shots, particularly men, who tend to get vaccinated at lower rates than women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31.8 percent of men aged 18 to 64 got flu shots between August 2010 and May 2011, compared to 37.8 percent of women.

“Men need to follow the lead of health-wise women nationwide and get their shots now to stay protected from the flu,” Lembo said in a statement released by his office. “This Halloween, the only thing scary about a flu shot is not getting one.”

In the past, the state employee health plan covered flu shots administered in doctors’ offices, on-site flu clinics at workplaces and at CVS Pharmacy MinuteClinics. Beginning this year, the plan also covers flu shots administered at local pharmacies, which the comptroller’s office said could save the state 30 percent compared to the cost of flu shots administered in physician offices.

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Arielle Levin Becker covered health care for The Connecticut Mirror. She previously worked for The Hartford Courant, most recently as its health reporter, and has also covered small towns, courts and education in Connecticut and New Jersey. She was a finalist in 2009 for the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists, a recipient of a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship and the third-place winner in 2013 for an in-depth piece on caregivers from the National Association of Health Journalists. She is a 2004 graduate of Yale University.

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