NEW YORK — The New York City Department of Health is collaborating with Walgreens to offer free flu shot vouchers at select stores across the boroughs.
Plans call for 1,000 flu shot vouchers to be provided at 11 Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies in the Bronx (three), Brooklyn (three), Manhattan (two), Queens (two) and Staten Island (one). The stores are situated in areas with high rates of people without health insurance and low flu vaccination rates, the department said.
“We’re proud to be working with the New York City Department of Health on this initiative,” Walgreens regional health care director Tony Riso said in a statement. “By providing access to flu shots at no cost for those who are eligible, we can help protect the health and well-being of our community members and prevent the further spread of influenza this season.”
The flu vouchers, offered on a first-come, first-served basis, enable uninsured and underinsured people to receive the flu vaccine at no charge. New Yorkers ages 7 and older without health coverage for vaccine are eligible for the voucher program, made possible by the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. The voucher can be redeemed by visiting any of the designated locations, which can be found by calling 311 or going online to NYC.gov/flu.
“Our surveillance has shown that influenza activity remains elevated throughout the city, and expanding access to this potentially life-saving vaccine is one more step we can take to ensure New Yorkers remain healthy,” stated New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. “I thank our partners at Walgreens for working with us on this vital issue. The flu shot remains the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and your neighbors from the influenza virus. Flu season is not over, and I urge New Yorkers to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
This flu season, the department has confirmed four pediatric deaths in New York City, compared with six during the 2016-17 season. Every year, more New Yorkers die from influenza and pneumonia than from any other infection. About 85% of flu-related deaths in the city are people ages 65 years and older in New York City.
“The partnership with Walgreens will not only provide critical health care to the most vulnerable New Yorkers, it will also keep our city healthy and safe during a particularly dangerous flu season,” commented Gabrielle Fialkoff, senior adviser to the mayor and director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships. “We are so grateful to welcome them as partners.”