As flu season approaches in Southeast Asia, Walgreens (NYSE, NASDAQ: WAG) today announced a donation of 375,000 doses of seasonal flu vaccine to Lao People’s Democratic Republic (referred to as Lao PDR or Laos). The Lao PDR Ministry of Health (Lao MOH) was selected to receive the vaccine based on longstanding collaborations between the Lao MOH, World Health Organization (WHO) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as Walgreens objective to provide vaccine to a population in need.
“This is an example of the potential value of collaboration between public health and private organizations,” said Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division. “Influenza vaccination is an important tool to reduce respiratory disease in Laos, particularly among people who are at risk for serious flu complications including pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. We’re excited to help make this happen.”
Walgreens, which provides more flu vaccine in the United States each year than any other retailer, drugstore chain or U.S. corporation, has worked with the CDC and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help increase the number of people vaccinated against influenza in underserved communities across America. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, visited a Chicago area Walgreens this season to get her seasonal flu shot from one of its pharmacists. HHS also assisted Walgreens in the distribution of seasonal flu vaccine vouchers in select markets throughout the country the last two years, which provided free flu vaccinations for the uninsured and underinsured.
Lao PDR health officials have designated the 375,000 doses of donated flu vaccine for people at high risk of flu complications in that country, including pregnant women, seniors and people with chronic health conditions such as heart and lung disease. The Walgreens donation was the result of a unique CDC-facilitated collaboration between Walgreens and the Lao MOH.