The events will cover more than 65 locations in eight counties and will run through the middle of October. The objective is to raise awareness of the importance of an annual flu shot, while also improving accessibility to the vaccine. Events will be held at medical centers, senior centers, community centers, parks, churches, apartment complexes and senior living communities.
“At Devoted Health, we’re here to serve seniors in our community and we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to improve the lives of those we serve,” says Dariel Quintana, market president of Florida for Devoted Health. “We’re so thankful to be partnering with Publix, as well as our network of community partners, who will be hosting these events.”
Licensed pharmacists from Publix will be on hand to administer the shots, and every person who gets one will also receive a $10 Publix gift card. Devoted Health will provide guests of the fairs with free gifts, prizes and raffles, and ice cream. For a complete list of health fairs, click here.
Based on the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates on flu vaccination coverage by state, Florida ranked 48th in the nation with only 35.6 percent of the population receiving vaccinations—just slightly ahead of Wyoming and Louisiana.
“We’ve been working hard to tackle the issue of low flu vaccination coverage in the state of Florida, and we always welcome the opportunity to work with new partners who are eager to help,” says Dain Rusk, VP of pharmacy operations at Publix. “We’re thrilled to partner with Devoted for these events. This initiative fits in so well with our mission to promote better health and a sense of well-being in our surrounding communities.”
The importance of improving flu vaccination coverage rates is brought into stark relief when considering CDC data on last year’s flu season, where the U.S. had at least 531,000 flu-related hospitalizations and upwards of 61,200 flu-related deaths. Healthcare experts also are wary of the upcoming season.
“We want to do everything we can to help people get their flu shot and part of that work is to dispel common myths,” says Dr. Neil Wagle, chief medical officer at Devoted Health. “For example, some people think if you live in a warm climate like Florida, you can’t get the flu—you can and we see it every year. And some think the flu shot can give you the flu—it can’t. There are no live viruses in the shot.”
To receive a flu shot at these events, individuals must present a valid health insurance card, but no copays will be collected at the fairs. In most cases, annual flu vaccinations are 100 percent covered by insurance.
Devoted Health currently offers Medicare Advantage HMO plans in eight Florida counties. Since launching in 2019, Devoted has grown to more than 3,000 members and a team of more than 350 employees across offices in Miramar, Florida, and Waltham, Massachusetts.