Uninsured Latinos eligible for free flu shot vouchers

Uninsured Latinos eligible for free flu shot vouchers

Posted by on Sep 21, 2016 in General

Uninsured Latinos eligible for free flu shot vouchers

GritoBlast!   About $10 million worth of free flu shots are coming to Walgreens thanks to a collaboration between the drug store and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The effort, now in its seventh year, offers free flu shot vouchers to improve flu immunization rates among uninsured Americans.

Latinos have the highest uninsured rates.

Eligible individuals can call 866-994-6757 to find the nearest location where flu shot vouchers may be available.

Flu shot latino man sneezing“Since 2010, this partnership has helped us make substantial strides in addressing disparities in flu vaccination coverage by providing free flu shots for more than 1.4 million people,” said Dr. J. Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for minority health and director of the HHS Office of Minority Health. “As the flu season approaches, our continued collaboration will help protect hundreds of thousands of people from influenza, which can make chronic health problems worse or lead to hospitalization or even death.”

Flu shot vouchers are distributed through a variety of local events and to community and faith-based organizations nationwide.

It is easy to forget how deadly the flu can be.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

Latinos ages 65 and older were 30% less likely to receive the flu shot compared to whites of the same age. In 2010, according to the Office of Minority Health, the number of white adults who received the flu shot was nearly 54%; for Latinos, that number was closer to 40%.

Seeking and obtaining preventative health care is one of the main areas in which the gap between Latinos and other racial and ethnic groups is the largest.

“[These numbers due to Latinos] having more limited access to medical care than other ethnic groups, especially Latinos that have arrived in the country recently,” said Eduardo Azziz-Baumgartner, a medical epidemiologist with the Influenza Division of the Centers for Disease Control. “Latinos are also more likely to face language barriers and to move from location to location for work. But flu vaccines can be especially important for Latinos … [they] are more likely to have pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, which can make the flu much more dangerous.”

While a flu shot won’t eliminate the chances of catching the flu, it does limit them.

“We’re proud to continue to grow our collaboration with HHS and to be working together to meet the health care needs of the communities we serve,” Richard Ashworth, Walgreens president of pharmacy and retail operations said. “We know that cost can be a barrier for some people when it comes to vaccinations and other preventive care. And by providing access to flu shots at no cost for those who are eligible, we can make a significant impact by protecting more people throughout the flu season.”

Post supplied by Eric Moreno at SaludToday