BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- 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, Sunday, November 11. The announcement is an extension of AFC's ongoing effort to promote flu prevention in the United States and comes on the heels of the company's annual National Flu Prevention Week campaign.
The U.S. military was the first institution to establish a universal influenza vaccination policy, which dates back to the early 1940s – many decades before widespread immunization of healthy young people was recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other international health officials. Today, their goal is to exceed 90 percent immunization of all military personnel by mid-December each year. Despite this effort to mitigate the outbreak of flu among active duty and reserve personnel, veterans remain at risk.
Fast Facts: Veterans, Health and Influenza
- Among the 19.4 million veterans in the U.S., approximately 750,000 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 has established a vaccination rate of 80 percent as the national goal for seasonal influenza vaccination. However, according to data from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, a recent survey shows 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 the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology found that only 1.3 percent of U.S. Veterans Affairs hospitals mandate flu shots for their employees.
More broadly, influenza outbreaks occur nearly every year, and cost the U.S. economy an estimated 71–167 billion dollars 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 190 medical centers in 26 states seeing 3 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. Benjamin Barlow, Chief Medical Officer 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 Barlow.
Veterans interested in obtaining a free flu shot on Sunday, November 11, 2018, are encouraged to visit AmericanFamilyCare.com to find their nearest AFC 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).
About American Family Care:
Starting with a single location in 1982, American Family Care has pioneered the concept of non-emergency room urgent care. With its 2013 acquisition of the Doctors Express franchise, AFC has become the nation's leading provider of urgent care, accessible primary care, and occupational medicine, with more than 190 clinics and 600 in-network physicians caring for 3 million patients a year. Ranked by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., AFC's stated mission is to provide the best health care possible, in a kind and caring environment, while respecting the rights of all patients, in an economical manner, at times and locations convenient to the patient. For more information, visit www.americanfamilycare.com.
SOURCE American Family Care