Bandage being placed on an arm after a flu shot.

Blue Cross Partners with Alana’s Foundation to Offer Free Flu Vaccines

Between 9 to 45 million people annually are diagnosed with the flu in the United States, resulting in hospitalizations and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Flu season begins in October and lasts through February each year. It is considered an annual epidemic. The CDC says it is especially important this year to help reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses, like the flu, considering the COVID-19 pandemic.

The flu is dangerous for anyone, but especially for vulnerable populations, such as adults ages 65 and older, children under 5 years old and anyone with a chronic condition. The flu is highly contagious and the best way to prevent it is by getting the flu vaccine annually, starting at six months of age. It also helps to wash your hands regularly and stay at home if you feel sick to prevent the spread of any germs.

For the second year in a row, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is partnering with Alana’s Foundation to raise awareness of the flu and offer free vaccinations at various community events across the state.

Alana’s Foundation was established in 2009 to honor the memory of Alana Yaksich, a 5 ½ year old girl who passed away due to a severe case of the flu in 2003. The foundation’s mission is to educate the public about influenza and promote vaccination rates. It’s now been more than 17 years since her passing, but Alana’s presence lives on by raising awareness of flu prevention.

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, however, if you haven’t been vaccinated by then, it is still important to make time for a flu shot. Flu shots will be offered at the following locations (other dates and locations will be added):

  • Oct. 10: Grand Rapids | MSU College of Human Medicine, 544 Monroe Ave. NW | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Oct. 10: Lansing | Potter Park, 1301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. | 8:30 – 11 a.m.
  • Oct. 14: Lansing | Allen Neighborhood Center, 2102 E. Michigan Ave. | 2:30 – 7 p.m.

Please bring your insurance card or a copy with you to the event, or use the BCBSM mobile app to access a virtual ID card from your smartphone. This is part of Blue Cross’ ongoing mission to keep our communities safe and healthy.

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Photo credit: SDI Productions

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