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Annual 'Flu-Free QC' campaign kicks off with free flu shots, Bandits tickets for elementary students

Elementary students can enjoy free admission to the River Bandits vs. Peoria Chiefs game on Thursday, Sept. 6 if they also get a free flu shot at the ballpark gates.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Editor's note: The video above is from Jan. 5. 

The Quad Cities River Bandits are teaming up with Genesis Health to offer kids a free night at the baseball diamond if they get vaccinated against the flu.

Genesis is kicking off its annual Flu-Free Quad Cities campaign at Modern Woodmen Park on Thursday, Sept. 6 with a vaccine clinic outside the ballpark gates at the River Bandits' 6:30 p.m. home game against the Peoria Chiefs.

Starting at 5 p.m., nurses will be stationed outside the park, ready to offer flu shots to elementary school students. Parental consent forms can be found online or on paper at the clinic.

Any elementary student who gets a flu shot at the clinic will get a free ticket to the game when the gates open at 5:45 p.m.

"The pandemic has shown the world how important it is to get immunized," River Bandits owner Dave Heller said. "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. 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!"

Heller will also be presenting a $50,000 check to Genesis to benefit three of its child-focused causes: Flu-Free Quad Cities, the Genesis Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Camp Genesis.

Genesis Health says that a recent spike of flu cases in the Southern Hemisphere could lead to a level of flu activity the world hasn't seen since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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, RN, BSN, and community health manager of the Genesis Visiting Nurses said. “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.”

Flu-Free Quad Cities is a program funded completely by charity, and donations can be made on the program's website or by texting FFQC to 41444.

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