Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Urges: Protect Yourself and Your Community By Getting a Flu Shot
BOSTON, Oct. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (Blue Cross) is supporting state and national public health experts in encouraging flu vaccinations. A severe flu outbreak this winter, coupled with a resurgence of the coronavirus, would pose a serious threat to individual and public health, as well as the health care system.
"We're facing the very real possibility of a 'twindemic' — two potentially deadly viruses circulating among us at the same time," said Dr. Katherine Dallow, VP and medical director of clinical programs and strategy at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. "While we don't yet have a vaccine for the coronavirus, you can reduce your risk of flu infection by getting vaccinated as soon as possible."
Vaccine coverage and access
Any member of the public can use the national vaccine finder tool https://vaccinefinder.org/ to find a clinician offering vaccines, including flu shots. People who use the vaccine finder should check with their health plan about coverage.
Impact of flu and vaccine's benefit
The flu vaccine is safe and effective, reducing the risk of infection by 40% to 60% when the year's vaccine is a good match to the strain of flu virus circulating, according to the CDC. Even if the vaccine is not a good match, the flu shot can lessen the severity and duration of illness, helping to ensure that hospital beds are kept available for those who are critically ill.
"Getting vaccinated can prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations at a time when we need to make sure we have plenty of resources available to treat coronavirus patients — everything from basic hospital supplies and personal protective equipment to ICU beds and ventilators," Dallow said.
Protect the most vulnerable
"It's especially critical this year that we do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable among us," said Dallow. "I encourage those who don't normally get a flu shot to reconsider and think about their loved ones and others they may come into contact with who are at high risk."
Dallow adds that since many of us are living in close contact with more people for longer stretches of time due to COVID restrictions — some with multiple generations in the same home — the risk of spreading viruses from the common cold to influenza to the coronavirus is even greater this fall and winter.
Other flu prevention tips
The company's news service, Coverage, also reports regularly on the flu and other health issues. Recent articles include:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (https://www.cdc.gov/flu/) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (https://www.mass.gov/influenza) both track flu-related activity, and provide information on the virus, vaccinations, and how to protect yourself from getting sick.
About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
*Members should always check their plan documents to confirm benefits and coverage
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts