375,000 Lao People will benefit from Donation to Lao Ministry of Health
As flu season approaches in Southeast Asia, American drugstore chain Walgreens has announced a donation of more than $9 million worth of seasonal flu vaccine to Lao P.D.R. The Lao Ministry of Health (MOH) was selected to receive the vaccine based on longstanding collaborations between the Ministry, the World Health Organization (WHO) the CDC, and the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane. The donation is part of Walgreens’ long-standing goal to provide vaccine to populations at risk and at need.
Lao health officials have designated the 375,000 doses of donated flu shots 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 MOH has worked collaboratively with CDC and WHO to identify target populations and establish the infrastructure to implement the vaccination campaign. The campaign will officially launch on April 24, with vaccine distribution taking place from April 24 till end of May 2012 throughout the country
Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions, said he was proud of his company’s contribution to improving the health of Lao people by preventing influenza.
“As flu season winds down here in the U.S., we’re pleased to provide vaccine to the people of Laos and to work with the Ministry of Health to help launch its seasonal flu vaccination effort,” Crawford said.
Dr. Joe Bresee, Influenza Division Branch Chief at CDC, hailed the cooperation between private company Walgreens, the government of Lao PDR, and the CDC.
“This is a tremendous example of the potential value of partnerships between public health and private organizations,” Bresee said.
The vaccine donation would not have been possible without a unique CDC-facilitated collaboration between Walgreens, the Lao MOH, and the American shipping company UPS, which delivered the vaccine to Laos. The donated vaccine was shipped via UPS, which provided the air freight containers needed to keep the Fluvirin vaccine in cold storage throughout the duration of its five-day, 9,000 mile transport from the United States. Maintaining strict temperature control under extreme ambient conditions is critical to the integrity of the vaccine, and UPS agents were on hand tracking the vaccine shipment through its Temperature True air freight service to ensure safe delivery as it traveled from the U.S. mainland to Anchorage, Alaska: Seoul, South Korea; Shenzhen, China; and Bangkok, Thailand; before being transported to Laos by truck.
As the nation’s largest drugstore chain with fiscal 2011 sales of $72 billion, Walgreens (www.walgreens.com) vision is to become America’s first choice for health and daily living. Each day, Walgreens provides nearly 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 7,840 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.
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