HHS teams with Walgreens to fight flu

The United States Department of Health and Human Services has announced that Walgreens will donate $10 million worth of vouchers for free flu shots to 350,000 eligible underserved and uninsured people in 15 U.S. markets.

Secretary of the Health and Human Service Department Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement during a conference call with Walgreens President of Pharmacy Services Kermit Crawford, Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Dr. Dan Jernigan on Friday. The announcement is part of a larger demonstration project to address health disparities in flu vaccination rates.

"Thanks to the new health care law, many people can get their flu vaccination without paying a co-pay or deductable, but there are still more Americans who cannot afford to get vaccinated for the flu," Sebelius said. "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 vouchers, good for one flu shot at any Walgreens pharmacy, or Duane Reade pharmacy in New York or a Take Care Clinic, are available starting next week in many markets including, Chicago, the Bronx and Philadelphia. Vouchers will be available soon in some other markets, including Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Waco, Texas. Vouchers will be available on a first come, first served basis.