Illinois-based leading drugstore chain Walgreen Co. (WAG), in association with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, recently announced a tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) vaccination voucher program. This vaccination program aims at preventing pertussis (whooping cough), particularly among individuals in close contact with infants, who are the most vulnerable.
Whooping cough is an infectious bacterial disease that affects one's respiratory tract and causes uncontrollable coughing. However, it is vaccine preventable.
Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whooping cough is highly contagious and young children have higher tendency to be affected by this disease. However, teens and even adults with a weak immune system are at risk of getting infected. The infection may, in turn, be transferred onto infants coming in close contact with them.
Under this program, the Tdap vaccine will be provided to all Alaskans aged 10 years and more. They can collect the vouchers and redeem it at any one of Walgreens' six Anchorage area locations. However, these vaccines are subject to availability and age, with applicable state and health-related restrictions.
Per CDC's recommendation, the vaccine is ideal for every adult who comes in contact with infants, including people aged 65 years and higher. The vaccine is also recommended for pregnant women as well as infants 6 weeks and older. Pre-adolescents who have not received their pertussis vaccinations are also deemed fit recipients of this vaccine.
The number of infected individuals has reportedly increased at an alarming rate in Alaska compared to past years. This has compelled the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to make requests to all Alaskan citizens to get the vaccination dose with utmost sincerity.
Both Walgreens and the Department of Health and Social Services have actively taken up this initiative to improve immunization rates and pace up preventive services against pertussis in Alaska. Notably, Walgreens pharmacists play a crucial role in this program.
Currently, Walgreen bears a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical sector include Almost Family Inc. (AFAM), Allergan Inc. (AGN) and Air Methods Corp. (AIRM). All the three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).