Limited Number Of Free Flu Shots Offered For High-Risk BCBSNC Members

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) will hold free flu shot clinics for members who meet the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) "high risk" criteria. A list of locations across the state follows this release.

BCBSNC is offering these clinics after learning that a portion of the vaccine it had previously ordered for its members will be made available. Supply is limited and statewide regional clinics will be held until the vaccine supply is depleted. Vaccines are available to members in any of the following health plans:

- All BCBSNC plans - State Health Plan - Federal BCBSNC plan - PARTNERS Medicare Choice

Members may call 1-866-617-3797 to hear a listing of clinic locations and dates. This information also is available at A list of dates and locations follows this release.

"Because of the BCBSNC flu shot program, more high risk North Carolinians will have access to flu vaccine than they would otherwise," said BCBSNC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bob Harris. "We will also be donating a portion of our vaccines to public health departments to help fill its critical public health need and to provide vaccine for infants and at-risk children under nine, who cannot be vaccinated in our free regional clinics."

BCBSNC will make up to 25,000 doses of vaccine available to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to help make up for the state's shortfall in vaccine supply. In addition, BCBSNC is providing 5,000 doses of flu vaccine to the North Carolina Association of Free Clinics, to immunize citizens served by those clinics across the state.

BCBSNC will provide free flu shots to members in accordance with the CDC's "high risk" criteria. Members in the plans identified above who meet one or more of the following criteria qualify for a free flu shot:

- adults age 65 years and older; - persons age 9-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions; - women who are pregnant; - residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities; - children age 9 to 18 on long-term aspirin therapy; - health-care workers involved in direct patient care; and - out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under six months.

Children who meet "high-risk" criteria and are between the ages of nine and 17 must be accompanied by a parent in order to receive a free flu shot. Pregnant women in their first trimester must have a physician's written prescription to receive the flu shot. Children under age nine should receive the flu shots from their physicians.

Members who meet high risk criteria and would like to receive a free flu shot at these clinics should be aware of the following guidelines:

- Flu shots provided at these locations are for members of BCBSNC plans, the State Health Plan and PARTNERS Medicare Choice who meet CDC's high- risk criteria only. Participants will be asked to fill out a high-risk questionnaire, present their BCBSNC, State Health Plan or PARTNERS Medicare Choice ID card and a photo ID to receive a flu shot. - North Carolina state law makes it a misdemeanor offense to provide a flu shot to someone who does not meet the CDC's criteria. - Each regional clinic has been allocated a supply of vaccine. Shots will be given on a first come, first served basis until the vaccine supply is depleted. To minimize inconvenience, members will be given a number and approximate waiting time when they arrive at the clinic. About BCBSNC:

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3 million members, including approximately 540,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. The company offers its members the Blue Extras(SM) value-added programs, which provide discounts and information on a wide variety of health- related services at no additional cost. BCBSNC also offers life, dental, long- term care and disability insurance products. For 71 years, the company has served its customers by offering access to quality health care at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. BCBSNC's HMO and POS products have earned Excellent Accreditation from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), an independent, not-for- profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of health care delivered to people everywhere. BCBSNC also has North Carolina's first and only NCQA accredited PPO plan - Blue Options(SM). Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at

A listing of free flu shot clinics across the state follows this release. BCBSNC Regional Free Flu Shot Clinics Dates and Locations

All clinics listed below are for BCBSNC, State Health Plan and PARTNERS Medicare Choice members who meet the CDC's high-risk criteria only. Members must present their ID cards and complete and sign a high-risk questionnaire to receive a flu shot. Infants and children under nine are not eligible to receive the vaccine at these sites.

HICKORY Location: Hickory Metro Convention Center (1960 13th Ave. SE) Dates: 11/17, 11/18 Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. CHARLOTTE Location: Cricket/Independence Arena (2700 East Independence Blvd.) Dates: 11/15, 11/16 Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. WINSTON-SALEM Location: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (2825 University Pkwy.) Dates: 11/10 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.), 11/11 (8 a.m. - 4 p.m.) GREENSBORO Location: Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center (1921 W. Lee St.) Dates: 11/8, 11/9 Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. RALEIGH Location: RBC Center (1400 Edwards Mill Rd.) Dates: 11/13, 11/14, 11/15 Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. GREENVILLE Location: Willis Building Auditorium at ECU (300 E. First Street) Dates: 11/8 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.), 11/17 (9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.) WILMINGTON Location: UNCW Executive Development Center (1242 Military Cutoff Road) Dates: 11/5, 11/9 Time: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

CONTACT: Michelle Douglas, +1-919-765-2825, or Mark Stinneford,+1-919-765-3745, both of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

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