As the coronavirus surges through the country once again, members of the 9/11 community must do their best to limit their potential exposure. One good way to do that is by making sure you receive a flu shot. This is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza — a description that fits many 9/11 responders and survivors afflicted with conditions like cancer, asthma, heart disease and other chronic ailments.
The World Trade Center Health Program encourages members to get the flu vaccine, including shots and nasal spray, which are available at no cost for all members. If you are not a WTCHP member, the first step is to get enrolled. We encourage you to read our overview of program eligibility. Our firm will help you with the paperwork and explain the benefits available to you.
If you are a WTCHP member, then before getting the flu vaccine you should speak with your physician or a program doctor. Most people will benefit from the flu vaccine but sometimes doctors recommend against it for people with certain health conditions.
If you go to a WTCHP Clinical Center of Excellence (CCE) in the New York City area, follow these steps:
- Before going to your pharmacy, call them and verify that they offer the flu vaccine and can process your claim.
- While on the phone, give the pharmacist your WTCHP pharmacy benefits information.
- Tell the pharmacy that they must call Optum (1-855-640-0005) to process the claim.
If you are a WTCHP member in the Nationwide Provider Network or you go to the William Street Clinic, follow these steps:
- Go to a local pharmacy that offers the flu vaccine.
- Present your NPN network card to the pharmacist.
- The pharmacy will then process the flu vaccine the same way as they do with any WTC-related prescription.
According to the CDC’s WTC Health Program flu information, you should not go to your WTC Health Program clinic for a flu vaccine. Those clinics are prioritizing appointments for care of people with WTC-related conditions. However, if you are going to a program clinic for a WTC-related treatment, the clinic may be able to administer the flu vaccine upon request.
We at Barasch & McGarry are available to help you enroll in the WTC Health Program. We can also advise you on dealing with pharmacies to make sure your flu vaccination claim is handled properly. If you have any flu shot questions, please call us 888-351-9421 or contact us online.