Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island Teams Up With Local Pharmacies to Make it Easier for Members to Get the Flu Vaccine

(Providence, RI, 9.12.2011)
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Getting the flu shot has never been easier for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island (BCBSRI) members because starting today the company becomes the first insurer to make flu shots available at more than 125 participating local pharmacies. With just half of Rhode Islanders receiving the flu shot last year, BCBSRI's goal is to help curb the spread of the flu in the state by increasing the number of vaccinations given this season.

"Getting a flu shot is one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent getting the flu this season," said Dr. Gus Manocchia, senior vice president and chief medical officer at BCBSRI. "Although the flu can cause severe symptoms for healthy adults and sometimes serious complications for children and seniors, a surprising number of Rhode Islanders don't take advantage of this safe and simple preventative service."

Manocchia continued: "Thanks to this innovative new program, BCBSRI members age 9 and older can now walk right into a participating pharmacy in Rhode Island, show their insurance card and get their flu shot at no cost. The pharmacy will handle submitting the medical claim. Members of all ages can continue to get their flu shots at their doctor's office, or flu clinic—this is just one more convenient way to get vaccinated for the upcoming flu season."

CVS, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Stop & Shop and many independently owned pharmacies have all agreed to take part in the program. To participate, pharmacies must have a pharmacist on staff who is licensed to administer flu immunizations. A complete list of eligible participating pharmacies can be found on BCBSRI.com/flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. The CDC advocates that everyone over the age of six months receive the flu shot as soon as the 2011-2012 vaccines are available. Vaccination of high-risk persons—including young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older—are especially important to decrease their risk of severe flu illness. The shot is not recommended for people who are allergic to chicken eggs or who have experienced a serious reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.

Please note: This benefit is not available to Plan 65 members or members who only have dental coverage from BCBSRI.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is the state's leading health insurer and covers more than 600,000 members. The company is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more information, visit BCBSRI.com and follow us on Twitter @BCBSRI.

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