Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Opens Free Flu Shot Clinics to Katrina Evacuees

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) announced today that it is opening its free flu shot clinics to evacuees from Hurricane Katrina who are residing in North Carolina.
 
BCBSNC is offering the flu shots at locations that include regional high-risk clinics and more than 700 retail locations across the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending flu shots for all Hurricane Katrina evacuees, particularly those living in crowded shelters.
 
"Hurricane Katrina evacuees already face a number of challenges in rebuilding their lives, and we don't want the flu to add to their burden," said BCBSNC President and CEO Bob Greczyn. "That's why we're opening our free flu shot clinics to them immediately."
 
To take advantage of the free flu shots, Hurricane Katrina evacuees should bring a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's license, or a utility bill to document that they are from a hurricane-effected area, as designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The evacuees are considered high-risk under CDC recommendations; therefore, they will be able to get shots at BCBSNC high-risk clinics statewide through October 24. BCBSNC is also offering clinics for all of its members, regardless of risk status, at retail clinics from October 25 through November 30, while supplies last. In addition, flu shots should be available at most participating physicians' offices throughout the fall and winter.
 
"As Hurricane Katrina evacuees are now living in many different parts of our state, we would ask the public's assistance in getting the word out about this opportunity for them to get a free flu shot," Greczyn said.
 
BCBSNC's ongoing Hurricane Katrina relief efforts have also included a $70,000 corporate donation to buy clothing and medical supplies for evacuees in the Triangle, a $100,000 donation to the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, and an additional $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross in honor of BCBSNC employees exceeding their United Way contribution goal of $575,000. The company is also holding three dedicated blood drives this month and an employee fund-raising campaign to support local American Red Cross chapters whose resources have been depleted in support of hurricane evacuees.
 
Along with the Hurricane Katrina evacuees, BCBSNC and PARTNERS members, as well as state and federal employees covered by plans administered by BCBSNC, can get a free flu shot this year at BCBSNC-hosted regional clinics or at participating pharmacy and grocery store retail locations throughout North Carolina. Medicare Part B recipients can get a free flu shot at either type of clinic, and Maxim Healthcare Services will file the claim for Medicare beneficiaries. Nonmembers can get a flu shot for $25 at either the high-risk clinics or at the retail clinics, while supplies last.
 
To find the free flu shot location nearest them, members can visit bcbsnc.com/flu/ or call 1-866-534-7330. Maxim Healthcare Services will administer the vaccines at all clinic locations.
 
According to the CDC, the 2005-2006 high-risk groups include the following: individuals affected by Hurricane Katrina, including evacuees; adults age 65 and older; pregnant women; anyone age 2 to 64 with a chronic health condition; parents of children age 6 months to 23 months; household contacts of children less than 6 months of age, and health care providers.
 
Flu shot recipients age 18 and older must present their BCBSNC member ID card and a photo ID in order to receive their free flu shot. Children ages 9 to 17 must be accompanied by a parent to receive a flu shot at either the regional or retail clinics. Children under the age of 9 will need to see their physician to receive their flu shot.
 
BCBSNC has already held regional high-risk clinics in Asheville, Greensboro, Greenville and Hickory. Remaining regional high-risk clinics are scheduled as follows:
 
RALEIGH
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Dates:
 
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RBC Center
Monday, October 10, Tuesday, October 11, and Wednesday, October 12
9 a.m. - 5 p.m., except Wed. Oct. 12 from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
 
                                                            
WINSTON-SALEM
Location:
Dates:
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Lawrence Joel Coliseum
Monday, October 10 and Tuesday, October 11
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
                                                            
WILMINGTON
Location:
Dates:
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Coast Line Convention Center
Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
                                                            
CHARLOTTE
Location:
Dates:
Times:
Northside Baptist Church
Saturday, October 15 and Saturday, October 22
9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
                                                            
 
 
 
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina:
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a leader in delivering innovative health care products, services and information to more than 3.2 million members, including approximately 620,000 served on behalf of other Blue Plans. For 72 years, the company has served its customers by offering health insurance at a competitive price and has served the people of North Carolina through support of community organizations, programs and events that promote good health. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Access BCBSNC online at bcbsnc.com.
 
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