Retail News Breaks Archives
CVS, Walgreens efforts to serve up free flu shots
September 13th, 2011
NEW YORK – CVS Caremark Corp. and Walgreen Co. have teamed up with nonprofits and other organizations to provide free flu vaccinations to uninsured and underinsured people.
CVS on Tuesday said it has partnered with Direct Relief USA to offer up to $6 million in free flu shots to community clinic and health center patients who lack health insurance. More than 400 clinics and health centers nationwide will identify uninsured individuals from their patient populations and give them a free flu shot voucher that's redeemable at any CVS/pharmacy or MinuteClinic.
Flu immunizations are available at more than 7,200 CVS/pharmacy locations and nearly 600 MinuteClinic locations inside CVS stores.
Over the past three years, CVS Caremark has committed to providing up to $14 million in free flu shots to patients in need, according to the company.
"Our goal this flu season is to make CVS/pharmacy and MinuteClinic the most convenient place to get a flu shot, which includes making sure that cost is not a barrier to this important preventive health care service," Larry Merlo, president and chief executive officer of CVS Caremark, said in a statement. "That is why we are working with Direct Relief USA, a dedicated health care organization whose extensive network of clinics and health centers will help us provide free flu shots to those who lack health insurance."
Direct Relief USA is a nonprofit organization that works with 1,100 clinics and health centers in all 50 states, providing free medications and supplies to low-income and uninsured patients. Most of the facilities in Direct Relief's network are affiliated with the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) or the National Association of Free Clinics (NAFC). Direct Relief is the largest nonprofit program providing donations of medicine to patients without insurance at clinics and health centers nationwide.
"Direct Relief USA is delighted to partner with CVS Caremark for the second straight year to help protect thousands of people who are in a tough financial situation with a free flu shot this season," stated Damon Taugher, director of Direct Relief USA. "The network we've built in collaboration with community health centers and clinics nationwide enables CVS Caremark's generous contribution to reach people who need help."
Last Friday, Walgreens announced that it's leveraging the social media platforms Facebook, where it has over a million "fans," and Foursquare to enable its customers to help distribute more than $6 million in free flu shot vouchers to five national charities.
Under the effort, Walgreens is working with the American Diabetes Association, AmeriCares, Feeding America, League of United Latin American Citizens and the National Urban League to provide up to 200,000 flu shot vouchers. The vouchers are for distribution to uninsured and underinsured people, as well as those who are unable to afford a flu shot without the voucher.
"Walgreens continues to play a leading role in providing flu shots and access to other important, preventive health care services for those in need throughout the U.S.," Kim Feil, Walgreens' chief marketing officer, said in a statement. "Our objective during flu season is to protect as many people as possible. This program gives people a unique opportunity to have a voice as part of our mission to help everyone in America stay well throughout the season."
Through Oct. 8, every time someone "checks in" at any Walgreens store via Facebook Places or Foursquare, the drug store chain will donate one flu shot voucher to the pool of vouchers to be distributed to the participating organizations, up to 200,000 vouchers. Also, those who visit the Walgreens Facebook page can vote for which organization they would like to receive the largest number of flu shot vouchers, upon completion of the promotional period.
Each organization will receive an incremental allocation of flu shot vouchers,to be determined by the total number of votes received. The top vote-getter will get 30% of the vouchers, with 25% for second place, 20% for third, 15% for fourth and 10% for fifth.
Walgreens said it has also provided another 20,000 vouchers for $10 flu shots as a base donation to each participating organization for distribution to qualified individuals. Including its Take Care Clinics and roughly 7,800 drug stores, Walgreens provides access to flu shots at more than 8,000 points of care nationwide.