HHS and Walgreens team up to increase minority vaccinations

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently unveiled a project to raise flu vaccination rates in minority groups, which is supported by $10 million worth of vaccine vouchers from Walgreens.

The vouchers will be distributed by community groups and state and local health departments to target 15 cities with large minority populations. The vouchers will be redeemable at Walgreens stores or at the company's Take Care clinics, Spectrum Publishers reports.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that many individuals go unprotected from the flu, including many people in Hispanic and African American populations. Some of the unprotected include people with chronic medical conditions putting them at high risk for complications from influenza.

"Private partners are stepping up to do their part," Sebelius said, according to Spectrum Publishers. "My colleagues and I are really pleased with this opportunity."

The project also includes public service announcements to 11,000 radio stations to increase flu vaccine awareness.

Kermit Crawford, the president of pharmacy services at Walgreens, said the vouchers will enable 350,000 people to be immunized. The company has 26,000 pharmacists who are authorized to administer the flu vaccine, Spectrum Publishers reports.

"There's always an opportunity to do more by playing an integral role in protecting people," Crawford said, according to Spectrum Publishers.