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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
PRESS RELEASE: Paid content from PR Newswire
Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

American Lung Association and Anthem Foundation Work Together to ‘Fend Off Flu’ as COVID Persists

September 28, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO, Sept. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With flu season on the horizon, the American Lung Association and Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., are working together to inform everyone on how to best keep themselves, and others, healthy. Through their new campaign called “Fend Off Flu,” the organizations will provide targeted toolkits and tips to prevent the flu to healthcare providers, workplaces and caregivers for adults over 65, with a focus on disparately affected communities.

Influenza (the flu) is a serious and highly contagious disease that can have severe health consequences for all, and especially for vulnerable adults 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions. The partnership between both organizations is supporting the creation of educational digital toolkits tailored to specific audiences, providing access to webinars and online resources aimed at increasing flu vaccine confidence, decreasing adult influenza illness and helping to influence individuals to receive their vaccine as part of their wellness routine for years to come. The public will have access to online resources regarding the importance of vaccination and how to stay healthy this flu season.

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“Because of the COVID pandemic, 2020 – 2021 had a relatively mild flu season,” said American Lung Association President and CEO Harold Wimmer. “In an ever-changing health landscape, we could see a spike in influenza cases this year, further burdening the healthcare system. It’s more important than ever to get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and those around you. That’s why we’ve partnered with Anthem Foundation to encourage action to keep Americans healthy.”

During the 2019 – 2020 flu season, it is estimated the flu sent approximately 400,000 people to the hospital with related complications and caused an estimated 22,000 deaths in the United States, which is why practicing caution and getting vaccinated should be a priority. While daily safety measures will help, the flu vaccine is the best protection against contracting and spreading the illness.

“Between historic flu trends and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this flu season presents unique challenges as infection rates of both viruses are expected to rise,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer at Anthem, Inc. “In a recent nation-wide survey conducted by Anthem, Inc., it was found that only half of adults and children (52%) received a flu shot last season1. In an effort to increase flu vaccination rates this year, our partnership with the American Lung Association will provide digital educational tools and resources where workplaces and the general public can be empowered to take control of their health and help minimize their risk, and the risk of others, of contracting the flu.”

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Flu vaccinations have been in use for more than 50 years, with hundreds of millions of Americans safely receiving them. It’s recommended that everyone over six months of age receive a flu vaccine.

“Not only will getting a flu shot help reduce the chance of catching the illness, it will also help reduce the severity if it’s contracted,” added American Lung Association Chief Medical Officer Albert Rizzo, M.D. “Especially for people with underlying conditions, the flu can turn into a serious, even deadly, illness. It’s important to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others around you.”

The risk of contracting the flu can be alleviated by receiving safe, effective and routine vaccinations, by staying home if sick, frequent handwashing or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, avoid touching their own eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces.

Visit Lung.org/Fend-Off-Flu learn more about avoiding the flu this year.

About the American Lung Association

The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through education, advocacy and research. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to champion clean air for all; to improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and to create a tobacco-free future. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the coveted 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Gold-Level GuideStar Member, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.

About Anthem Foundation

The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the organization’s commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.

American Lung Association • 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150 • Chicago, IL 60601

1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Ste. 1425 North • Washington, D.C. 20004
1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org

1 Source: Suzy - data collected in Spring, 2021 from a survey of 1,040 USA consumers ages 18 to 73.

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SOURCE American Lung Association