River Bandits help kick off Genesis Flu-Free QC Effort 

Area elementary school kids can step up to the plate, get a free flu shot and watch a free baseball game at Modern Woodmen Park as the River Bandits help launch the Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities campaign. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 6, Genesis VNA nurses will be offering free flu shots for Quad Cities youth ahead of the Bandits and Peoria Chiefs game. The event kicks off the health system’s annual flu shot campaign. 

Over the past 15 years, the Genesis effort has provided more than 100,000 free flu vaccinations to elementary school students. This year’s goal is to reach pre-COVID-19 levels of 7,000-8,000 flu shots in 80 elementary schools across the region and to continue the past two years of mild flu seasons.

In addition to hosting Genesis at the Davenport ballpark, the event will include a check presentation by Dave Heller, president and CEO of Main Street Baseball, to Genesis. A $50,000 donation will benefit three causes for area kids – Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities, the Genesis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and Camp Genesis for youngsters affected by cancer in their family.

“The pandemic has shown the world how important it is to get immunized,” Mr. Heller, River Bandits owner, said in a news release. “All of us with the River Bandits family want to do all we can to support children’s health and keep our community safe, and that starts with a flu shot.”

“That’s why we’re providing free tickets to that night’s game to every child who gets a flu shot,” he added. “That’s a real win-win: the kids get huge fun at the ballpark and we get to keep our kids healthy and the Quad Cities strong all winter long.”

The line-up for Tuesday’s festivities includes:

  •  5 p.m.: Genesis VNA nurses will be outside the ballpark gates, along with Rascal the Bandits mascot, to give free flu shots to elementary school students. Parents can complete an online consent form in advance at www.genesishealth.com/FluForm. There also will be a paper version of the consent at the event.
  •  5:45 p.m.: Gates to the ballpark open. Any elementary student who gets a flu shot will receive a free ticket (bleacher seat) for entry.
  •  6:30 p.m.: The game against the Peoria Chiefs begins.

Genesis said now is the time for parents to fill out the online consent form for their elementary school child’s free flu shot before the program gets underway in October. Flu-Free Quad Cities is a 100% charitably funded program. 

“Making a small gift to Flu-Free Quad Cities goes a long way to keep our community healthy and protect those most at risk from the deadly complications of seasonal flu,” said Genesis Foundation Executive Director Missy Gowey. “We know that for every one child who gets a flu shot, we can protect five more people.”

A recent spike in flu cases in the Southern Hemisphere may be a warning sign that flu activity could reach pre-pandemic levels during the 2022-2023 flu season. Reports indicate that Australia is nearing the end of its worst flu season in five years.

“We still have community transmission of COVID-19, so there’s the potential for serious complications from having seasonal influenza and COVID-19 at the same time or one after the other,” Michele Cullen, community health manager, Genesis Visiting Nurses, said in the release. “Over the last two years, we experienced a huge drop in flu cases across the nation, due in part to COVID precautions like masking, handwashing and social distancing. We want to see that reduction in flu cases continue.”

The Quad Cities River Bandits and GreenState Credit Union are major sponsors of Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities.

To donate to Genesis Flu-Free Quad Cities, go to www.genesishealth.com/flufree or text the keyword FFQC to 41444.

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