LOUISVILLE, Ky, December 3, 2020 - The Kentucky Medical Association (KMA), the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKy) and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky have welcomed new partners to the “Raise Your Guard, KY” campaign for a special focus on flu vaccination across the state.

Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, Humana, WellCare of Kentucky and the Kentucky Hospital Association will join the original partners of the Raise Your Guard, KY campaign to amplify the importance of all Kentuckians receiving a flu shot, particularly amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. The “Raise Your Guard, KY: Focus on Flu” campaign will be primarily centered on social media, with each organization promoting the benefits of flu vaccination.

“We’re excited to be able to extend the Raise Your Guard, KY campaign with these additional stakeholder groups. Flu vaccination is so important, and it’s wonderful that so many insurers and healthcare leaders can get behind this, together,” said FHKy President and CEO Ben Chandler.

KMA President Dale Toney, M.D. agreed. “KMA and FHKy worked together on a very successful campaign called “Focus on Flu” several years ago where we talked about the 100-year anniversary of the 1918 flu pandemic. Now that we have all experienced how disastrous a global pandemic can be, the timing of this messaging couldn’t be more important. We all must do what we can to prevent the flu from becoming the next pandemic.”

With COVID-19 numbers continuing to grow rapidly across the state, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kentucky emphasized the importance of preventing a "twindemic' of flu and COVID. “We must all work to preserve our state’s hospitals and healthcare workers so they can be prepared for a potential influx of COVID-19 patients. By encouraging everyone to get a flu vaccine, we can reduce the impact of influenza in Kentucky,” said Jeff Reynolds, M.D., medical director of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky.

Last year, more than 27,408 cases of flu were reported in Kentucky, which resulted in 162 deaths.

“Aetna Better Health of Kentucky is committed to doing our part to educate our members and the community about the importance of getting a flu vaccine,” said Jonathan Copley, CEO of Aetna Better Health of Kentucky. “We are pleased to support the ‘Raise Your Guard, KY’ campaign to help Kentuckians stay safe and healthy during these uncertain times.”

Jeb Duke, Humana’s Kentucky-based Medicaid leader agrees: “Humana wants to make getting the flu vaccine as painless as possible. This partnership is a great example of how health care organizations can work together to care for Kentuckians.”

“To help protect against the flu, we encourage members to schedule their vaccination appointments as soon as possible,” said Dr. Howard Shaps, Chief Medical Officer, WellCare of Kentucky. “Since it can take two weeks after getting the vaccine for the antibodies that protect against the flu to fully develop, it’s best to get a flu vaccine as early in the season if possible.”

“While COVID-19 is certainly still the threat garnering the most attention, we can’t let our guard down on influenza. It’s time to ‘Raise Your Guard, KY’ and ‘Focus on Flu,’” added Nancy Galvagni, President and CEO of the Kentucky Hospital Association.

More information on the “Raise Your Guard, KY: Focus on Flu” campaign is available at RaiseYourGuardKY.org/Flu

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Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky
Funded by an endowment, the mission of the nonpartisan Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky is to address the unmet health needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested more than $29 million in health policy research, advocacy, and demonstration project grants across the Commonwealth. Visit www.healthy-ky.org.

About the Kentucky Medical Association
Established in 1851, the Kentucky Medical Association is a professional organization for physicians throughout the Commonwealth. The KMA works on behalf of physicians and the patients they serve to ensure the delivery of quality, affordable healthcare. Members of the KMA share a mission of commitment to the profession and service to the citizens of this Commonwealth that extends across rural and urban areas. From solo practitioners to academicians to large, multi-specialty groups, KMA is the ONLY state association representing every specialty and type of medical practice in Kentucky.

About the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care
Founded by the Kentucky Medical Association in 1971, the Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to improving the health of all Kentuckians through medical education and public health initiatives.

About Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in Kentucky
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Anthem Health Plans of Kentucky, Inc. Independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Anthem is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky is available at www.Anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/askAnthem, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AskAnthem.

Media Contacts:
Bonnie J. Hackbarth
bhackbarth@healthy-ky.org 
877-326-2583 (Office)
502-552-3770 (Mobile)

Emily Schott
schott@kyma.org 
502-814-1388 (Office)
502-341-1926 (mobile)