Regence BlueCross BlueShield Of Oregon Announces Coverage Of FluMist In Response To The Shortage Of Injectable Flu Vaccine

PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In response to the shortage of injectable flu vaccine, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, the state's largest health-insurance carrier, is covering FluMist for its members.

"As part of our commitment to enhancing the health of our members and their families, Regence is covering FluMist as a possible preventative option throughout the 2004-2005 flu season," said Dr. Jeff Robertson, The Regence Group's Chief Medical Officer.

FluMist is the first flu vaccine in the United States that is given as a nasal mist instead of a shot. FluMist is only for healthy people ages five to 49, and while it's a preventative option, it does not offer proven protection against the flu.

It's important to note that FluMist is not recommended for the following individuals: Children under the age of five, adults age 50 and over and pregnant women. People with asthma and people with suspected immune system problems and their caregivers should not take FluMist.

"Although FluMist is an option for many of our members, we encourage people to adopt practices that help them to reduce their risk of catching or spreading the virus in the first place," Robertson said. "This includes staying at least three feet away from people who have the virus; frequently washing hands with soap and warm water; covering their mouths with disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing; and getting plenty of rest."

Regence BlueCross Blueshield of Oregon provides medical, dental and related coverage for about one million members in Oregon and in Clark County, Washington. It's part of the Regence Group, the largest affiliation of health plans in the northwest and intermountain states, collectively covering nearly three million people. The Regence Group and its affiliated Plans are not-for-profit, independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Nearly one in three Americans has health care coverage through Blue Plans.

Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon

CONTACT: Angela Hult of Regence BlueCross Blueshield of Oregon,+1-503-412-7902, or

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