Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)(Nasdaq: WAG), Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) are teaming up to help parents of students grades 6-12 meet a new Illinois state requirement for Tdap vaccinations, which help to protect against whooping cough. The mandate comes as the number of whooping cough cases in Illinois have almost doubled over the past two years, part of a national trend that has seen the highest levels of illness in more than 50 years. Students will be required to show proof of having received a single dose of the Tdap vaccine, which protects against pertussis (whooping cough), tetanus and diphtheria, or have an approved religious or medical exemption on file by Oct. 15. Walgreens, CPS and CDPH, building on a collaborative health initiative around flu last year, aim to heighten awareness around the importance of getting the Tdap vaccine prior to the start of the school year Aug. 26, by providing greater and more convenient access to vaccinations through a number of programs and events. These include:
- Events being held at select CPS locations with Walgreens pharmacists on hand to administer vaccines to students in need
- Walgreens and CDPH hosting immunization clinics throughout the city to provide vaccines to students in need
- The CDPH Care Van touring parks, schools and businesses to offer free mobile immunization clinics in communities across Chicago
- Ten Walgreens stores in Chicago are being enrolled in the federally funded Vaccine for Children program, to help provide greater access to the Tdap vaccine for communities in need. The program provides vaccinations for eligible children up to 18 years of age.
There were 2,026 whooping cough cases reported across Illinois in 2012, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, the highest in the state since 1950. Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious and potentially serious illness that is easily transmitted.The Tdap vaccine is the most effective way to help prevent the illness, and health officials warn that those who aren’t immunized are not only at increased risk for disease, it also increases risk for spreading of the disease within the classroom or the community. “Walgreens is playing an important role in helping to prevent this serious illness, providing greater access to vaccine in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois. We have more than 600 points of care statewide including our pharmacies and Healthcare Clinics that routinely offer the Tdap vaccine and other immunizations year-round,” said Harry Leider, MD, chief medical officer, Walgreens. “Access to this and other vaccines, as well as out-of-pocket costs are barriers for many families, and through this collaboration with CDPH and CPS, we’re focused on making the back-to-school season easier while helping more students and their families get, stay and live well.” A Tdap booster vaccine is recommended for adults and adolescents to protect against whooping cough, and is especially important for those in contact with infants younger than 12 months of age. A dose of Tdap is also recommended for pregnant women. Immunizations are covered by most insurance plans as well as Medicaid. Parents are advised to contact their insurance provider or talk with a Walgreens pharmacist if they have questions. CDPH immunizations are free for all children from birth through 18 years of age. Parents should bring immunization records for each child being served. About CDPH The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) works to make Chicago a safer and healthier place by working with community partners to promote health, prevent disease, reduce environmental hazards and ensure access to health care for all Chicagoans. Visit us at www.cityofchicago.org/health to learn more about how CDPH is transforming the health of our city. About Walgreens As the nation's largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2012 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens ( www.walgreens.com) vision is to be the first choice for health and daily living for everyone in American and beyond. Each day, Walgreens provides more than 6 million customers the most convenient, multichannel access to consumer goods and services and trusted, cost-effective pharmacy, health and wellness services and advice in communities across America. Walgreens scope of pharmacy services includes retail, specialty, infusion, medical facility and mail service, along with respiratory services. These services improve health outcomes and lower costs for payers including employers, managed care organizations, health systems, pharmacy benefit managers and the public sector. The company operates 8,105 drugstores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Take Care Health Systems is a Walgreens subsidiary that is the largest and most comprehensive manager of worksite health and wellness centers and in-store convenient care clinics, with more than 700 locations throughout the country.