Walgreen Co. is working with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) to help educate the public and health care professionals about flu prevention resources.

Walgreens, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, NFID, Families Fighting Flu, flu prevention, Kermit Crawford, pharmacy, drug store, flu shots, flu season, William Schaffner, Richard Kanowitz

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Walgreens teams with NFID to promote flu prevention

October 7th, 2010

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. is working with the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) to help educate the public and health care professionals about flu prevention resources.

The drug store chain said Thursday that it also is teaming up with Families Fighting Flu, a nonprofit group of families and health care practitioners, to raise awareness about the flu and urge children and families to get immunized.

"Working with NFID and Families Fighting Flu and through ongoing efforts with the medical community and government agencies, we'll continue to arm the public with the information they need to protect themselves," Kermit Crawford, president of pharmacy services at Walgreens, said in a statement. "With new CDC [Centers for Disease Controlrecommendations, an all-in-one vaccine and unprecedented access to flu shots, our goal is to achieve higher immunization rates that can lead to a lower incidence of flu in the U.S. this season.”

Through the partnership with NFID, Walgreens is supporting public awareness initiatives for flu and other vaccination programs to boost immunization rates and improve patient outcomes.

News of the alliance cames as NFID on Thursday convened 10 of the nation's top medical and public health group in Washington, D.C., to urge all Americans to get vaccinated this flu season. At the annual press conference, health experted discusses immunizations as the best protection against flu viruses, new information from the medical community and the  role pharmacy plays in providing vaccines within the U.S. health care system.

Walgreens noted that NFID, a nonprofit organization, recognizes pharmacists as among the country's most accessible health care providers, with more than 140,000 pharmacists nationwide now trained to administer immunizations.

"We're thankful to have the support of Walgreens, which has demonstrated its capabilities in administering influenza, pneumococcal and other vaccinations while providing convenient access through its network of pharmacies and health care professionals," commented William Schaffner, M.D., president of NFID and chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

And with children younger than age 5 at higher risk of flu-related complications, Walgreens and Take Care Clinics are partnering with Families Fighting Flu to raise awareness of the need for annual vaccinations. Families Fighting Flu is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to educating people about the severity of influenza and the importance of annual vaccinations. Each member family has experienced the death or severe illness of a child because of the flu. 

"We're proud to work with Walgreens to reinforce our organization's No. 1 objective, to protect more children from influenza by encouraging them to get a flu shot each year," stated Richard Kanowitz, president of Families Fighting Flu. "We urge parents everywhere to be proactive about flu prevention, and through Walgreens network of stores and in-store clinics offering flu shots every day, we hope more will get their children immunized."

Walgreens said it has more than 7,500 drug stores and 350 Take Care Clinics, with over 26,000 immunizing pharmacists and nurse practitioners. The company noted that it grew its overall flu shot distribution more than 500% last flu season, administering over 7 million seasonal flu and H1N1 shots. And so far this season, the company reported that Walgreens stores and the Take Care clinics have together administered 2.25 million flu shots.