Walgreens and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are teaming up in an effort to make 2011 a healthier New Year for those without adequate health insurance. Walgreens is providing more than $10 million worth of vouchers for free flu shots, which HHS will help distribute to up to 350,000 eligible, uninsured and underserved people in 15 U.S. markets. Vouchers are good for one flu shot at any Walgreens pharmacy, Duane Reade pharmacy in New York or Take Care Clinic, and will be available in the following metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Ga.; Bronx, N.Y.; Chicago, Ill.; Houston, Texas; Kansas City, Mo.; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif.; and Philadelphia, Pa.
Vouchers will also soon be distributed and available through local health agencies in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Miami Dade County, Fla.; Palm Beach, Fla.; Seattle, Wash.; Waco, Texas; Washington, D.C.; and New Hampshire (various regions).
Local public health officials and their community partners in these identified cities, in conjunction with the HHS Regional Health Administrators (RHAs), will distribute the vouchers through a variety of community outreach efforts. Vouchers will be available on a first come, first- served basis while supplies last. State, age and other restrictions may apply.
More information regarding flu shot voucher distribution is available at www.flu.gov.
"Were proud to partner with HHS to protect as many people as possible during this flu season, particularly those who may not otherwise have access to flu vaccine," says Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy services. "The flu season traditionally peaks in January and February 70 percent of the time, so this is an important time for prevention. Through this donation, we hope to achieve higher immunization rates among underserved populations, which can lead to a lower incidence of flu."
"Thanks to the new healthcare law, many people can get their flu vaccination without paying a co-pay or deductible, but there are still more Americans who cannot afford to get vaccinated for the flu," says Kathleen Sebelius, secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "With this generous donation, Walgreens is helping individuals and families who otherwise might be unprotected from the flu this season. We are also troubled by recent data showing disparities among people when it comes to flu vaccination. This donation will help us remove barriers that have prevented some from getting vaccinated."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu shot for everyone over the age of six months. CDC statistics show approximately 46 million Americans currently have no health insurance. Additionally, a recent Harvard Medical School study found that 45,000 people in the U.S. die each year in part because they lack health insurance and do not have access to quality care.
Flu shots are available at all of the more than 7,600 Walgreens stores and more than 350 Take Care Clinics nationwide every day, during pharmacy and clinic hours with no appointment necessary.