Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Flu Clinic Popular This Year; Health Insurer Schedules More Clinics

(Providence, RI, 11.15.2010)

Flu Shots Free for Uninsured and Under-Insured Rhode Islanders

Due to the favorable response by the public, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) will offer two more free flu clinics. To prevent a widespread outbreak of influenza, the state's largest health insurer is underwriting the cost to provide flu shots to Rhode Islanders who do not have health insurance or whose insurance doesn't include flu vaccinations.

To date, BCBSRI has inoculated 448 people at 12 clinics statewide. Approximately 76 percent of those receiving flu shots did not have health insurance.

"Vaccinating the entire population serves to reduce the risk of a massive flu outbreak, and that helps reduce healthcare costs for everyone," said James E. Purcell, president and chief executive officer at BCBSRI. "Studies have shown that influenza vaccinations prevent the spread of the disease and reduce the severity of those who contract it. Hospitalizations, doctor visits, and other related costs for the treatment of flu are greatly reduced."

BCBSRI works with community service providers to manage the clinics. They will be held at the following locations:

11/17 CHisPA, 421 Elmwood Ave., Providence; 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. NEW

11/17 Amos House, 413 Friendship St., Providence; 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

11/17 Women's Center of Rhode Island, Providence; 10:30-12:30 p.m.

11/17 Youth Pride Inc., 171 Chestnut St., Providence; 2-5 p.m.

11/17 Taming Asthma, 557 Broad St., Providence; 5-7 p.m.

11/17 Salvation Army, 102 High St., Pawtucket; 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

11/22 Jonnycake Center Inc., 1231 Kingstown Rd., Wakefield; 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

11/30 Crossroads Rhode Island, 160 Broad St., Providence; 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.

12/8 Woodlawn Community Development Corp., 210 West Ave., Pawtucket; 5-7 p.m. NEW

Flu vaccinations are free for all BCBSRI members. There is no copay or coinsurance for members to receive immunization.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone six months and older receive a flu shot. The shot is not recommended for people who are severely allergic to chicken eggs or who have experienced a severe reaction to a past influenza vaccination. The seasonal flu shots include the H1N1 virus vaccination.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state's leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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