Birmingham, Ala. (November 1, 2016) – American Family Care (AFC), the nation’s leading provider of urgent care, accessible primary care, and occupational medicine, announced today it will offer military veterans free flu shots on Veterans Day, Friday, November 11. The announcement is an extension of AFC’s effort to promote flu prevention in the United States and comes on the heels of the company’s annual “National Flu Prevention Week” campaign.
In the wake of AFC’s efforts to promote flu shots and reduce the spread of influenza during the 2015–2016 season, the United States saw a lower percentage of outpatient visits for influenza-like illness, lower hospitalization rates, and a lower percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza, compared with the preceding three seasons, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the success of AFC’s efforts to mitigate the outbreak of flu, veterans remain at risk.
Fast Facts: Veterans, Health and Influenza
- There are 19.4 million veterans in the U.S., and approximately 750,000 of them have no insurance coverage.
- Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces tend to be older and have more chronic health problems than the general adult population, which may place them at greater risk of complications from influenza.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has established a vaccination rate of 80 percent as the national goal for seasonal influenza vaccination. However, according to data from a survey released by the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, only 49 percent of veterans received a flu vaccination.
- The prevalence of influenza vaccination among VA system users is approximately 75 percent, although approximately three quarters of the U.S. veteran population does not use VA services.
- A study recently published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology found that only 1.3 percent of U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals mandate flu shots for their employees.
Influenza outbreaks occur nearly every year, and cost the U.S. economy an estimated $71–167 billion per year in health services use and lost productivity. Influenza-related diseases also cause an estimated 225,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually in the U.S., mostly among chronically ill or elderly people. “With more than 160 medical centers in 26 states seeing more than 2 million patients a year, AFC deals with the flu as much or more than any other health care provider outside of the federal government, so we understand the impact it can have on our society,” said Dr. Jeremy Allen, of American Family Care. “With dozens of clinics near military bases across the U.S., we also understand the effect the flu has on veterans and their families. So, we want to do everything we can to serve those who have served our country,” concluded Allen.
Veterans interested in obtaining a free flu shot on Friday, November 11, 2016, are encouraged to visit AFCUrgentCare.com to find the nearest American Family Care clinic.
SOURCES: The National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center (VEMEC), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).