Genesis Kicks Off 13th Flu-Free Quad Cities Campaign
Nearly 8,000 elementary school students in the region will roll up their sleeves and help prevent the spread of seasonal influenza this season.
Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities is celebrating the 13th year of the campaign to reduce the effects and spread of seasonal influenza.
The Flu-Free teams of nurses from Genesis Visiting Nurse Association have begun visiting more than 80 elementary schools provide free flu protection.
Sponsorship of the program is provided by GreenState Credit Union, the Quad Cities River Bandits and the Genesis Foundation.
“We believe elementary school students, who are very effective carriers of seasonal flu, are playing an important role in preventing flu in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois,’’ said Michele Cullen, RN, BSN, community health manager for Genesis VNA and Hospice. “Each student who rolls up their sleeve for flu protection may be preventing a baby sibling, a grandparent or someone they are around with a chronic illness from getting the flu.
“Vaccination is the best way to prevent someone from having the flu and also from passing it to others.’’
It is estimated that each person who is vaccinated against seasonal influenza helps protect up to five others from getting the flu.
Young, healthy kids are not as susceptible to severe complications from the flu, but they may be around people who are susceptible. At highest risk statistically are the very young, the elderly and anyone with a chronic health condition.
Cullen said virtually everyone older than 6 months old should receive a flu shot. The only exceptions, she said, are those with medical conditions preventing them from receiving a vaccination.
In the first 12 years of Flu-Free Quad Cities, 90,050 elementary school students have received free flu vaccinations. The program has grown from a pilot program of 400 students in 2007.
The vaccinations are available with parental consent. Regardless of family income, the vaccinations are available at no cost.
Flu-Free Quad Cities is just one of the Genesis efforts to help reduce flu cases in the region. This season, Genesis will provide nearly 50,000 flu vaccinations combined from the hospital campuses, Genesis Health Group offices, 5,000 vaccinations of Genesis employees and volunteers and through the efforts of Genesis VNA and Hospice and Genesis Occupational Health.
“The year there is a blanket of flu protection over the region we will have been successful,’’ said Missy Gowey, executive director, Genesis Foundation, which raises funds for the effort. “Until then, we’ll keep expanding our efforts to prevent an illness that can be deadly.’’
Flu-Free Quad Cities Historical Numbers
2007 (pilot) -- 400
2008 -- 3,000
2009 -- 9,450
2010 -- 9,400
2011 -- 9,400
2012 – 7,974
2013 – 8,010
2014 – 8,700
2015 – 8,806
2016 – 8,568
2017 – 8,280
2018 – 7,871
TOTAL – 90,050