Flu season is right around the corner. According to the CDC, cases usually spike in December, so fall is the time of year when many people are visiting their local pharmacy or doctor’s office to get their flu shots.
To ensure everyone in its community has access to such an important service, the YMCA of Greater Omaha, in a partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBS), is offering free flu shots at 14 facilities throughout the state of Nebraska.
According to Chris Tointon, the president and CEO of the Omaha Y, the partnership came about because the organization elected a BCBS leader to the board of directors, which sparked conversations about the Y’s impact in the community.
“That led to a discussion on how the Y would make a great partner to get many Nebraskans vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as a vaccine was ready and safe,” shared Tointon. “From there, we talked about the impact we could also make on the flu in preparation for preventing a flu-COVID double hit.”
Because the Omaha Y has such a strong connection to the community, working with BCBS to offer flu shots at its facilities made perfect sense.
The service isn’t just for Y members — anyone in the community can come get a flu shot, even if they don’t have insurance. “BCBS is stepping up to cover the costs for anyone who isn’t insured or whose coverage doesn’t include flu shots,” said Tointon. “This is an incredible community service where the two missions of our organizations combine to support healthy living for all.”
The goal is to make an essential service accessible for everyone, especially for those who might not otherwise have the means to get their flu shot. Through this key partnership, the Omaha Y is able to reach that goal.
“We are specifically reaching out to underserved and underinsured parts of our communities to make sure we remove any barrier for someone to get the flu shot,” said Tointon. “Our goal is to take away fear, travel and cost barriers to protecting people and their families from the dangers of the flu.”