Rite-Aid announced its intention to partner with the national coalition of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies (HMHB) to deliver up to 10,000 flu shots to mothers-to-be that use the HMHB text4baby program.
Pregnancy alters an expectant mother's immune system in ways that make her more susceptible to severe cases of the flu, according to the CDC. Also, having the flu during pregnancy can increase a mother's chances of experiencing miscarriage or fetal birth defects.
The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant mothers. Moms that are concerned about thimerosal can ask for a version of the vaccine that doesn't contain the preservative.
When an expectant mom signs up for text4baby, she receives three weekly text messages from the signup date to the time that her baby turns one. The messages were created in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to ensure their accuracy. They are also tailored according to feedback from pregnant moms of all literacy levels.
Topics covered by text4baby include immunizations, prenatal care, safe sleep, breastfeeding and car seat safety. Additional topics that focus on the mother and on the baby's environment include family violence, substance abuse and injury prevention.
In addition to providing free flu vaccines, Rite Aid will promote text4baby by placing circulars and displays in its stores. The company will also promote the program on social media.
Expectant moms can text "RABABY" or "RABEBE" to 511411. They will automatically enroll in text4baby. Additionally, they will receive a reminder starting October 15 about the Rite Aid free flu shot offer.
To get the shots, mothers must accept text4baby's invitation to take part in the Rite Aid program. After accepting, mothers will receive a coupon code, which they should redeem at a Rite Aid pharmacy. The coupon code is only good for one use, and it's non-transferrable. Also, Rite Aid has stores in 31 states, so mothers living in states that have no Rite Aid stores would be ineligible.
Edited by Alisen Downey