NEW ORLEANS ( Nov. 9, 2022) – To help New Orleanians protect themselves and their families from severe illness this winter, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana has teamed up with Blue Krewe to sponsor free Blue Bikes rides for vaccine appointments. Through the end of the year, riders can use the code SleevesUp for two free, 30-minute rides to and from their preferred flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine or booster locations.
"With the holidays upon us and Carnival season just around the corner, now is a great time to get annual vaccinations as we look forward to spending time with family and friends,” said Patrick Urbine, Blue Krewe community engagement manager. “As a local, community-run bikeshare program, our team is excited to offer free Blue Bikes rides to make it easier for folks to get their shots and promote community health."
Winter weather may still be several weeks away, but health officials in Louisiana and around the country are already reporting high rates of hospitalizations, especially among children, from seasonal respiratory viruses.
“Normally, we see cases of flu peak in late winter, and we’ve had COVID-19 surges in colder months for the past two years. But this year, we’re seeing many more people get very sick with these viruses much earlier than usual,” said Blue Cross Medical Director Dr. Jeremy Wigginton. “The best way to protect yourself and your family against the worst outcomes from these illnesses is for everyone who can to get vaccinated. If you get the shots now, you’ll have strong protection heading into those peak months.”
Flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for everyone six months and older, and COVID-19 boosters are recommended for everyone 5 and older. These vaccines are widely available at clinics, pharmacies, community health centers, doctor’s offices and other locations in the New Orleans area.
“As we head into the holiday season and look forward to spending time with our loved ones, we want to help everyone be as healthy as possible,” said Michael Tipton, head of Community Relations at Blue Cross and president of the Blue Cross Foundation. “We know transportation can be a barrier, and we hope that by Blue Cross sponsoring free Blue Bikes rides for vaccine appointments, we are making it easier for more people to get the jab.”
To Use Your Free Ride for a Vaccine Appointment:
1. Download the Blue Bikes NOLA app, which is available in the App Store and Google Play.
2. To redeem your promo code and start your free ride, open your Blue Bikes NOLA app and tap on your name in the upper-left corner. This will pull up a sidebar of account options. Tap on "promo codes," which will take you to the code redemption screen.
3. Enter the promo code SleevesUp in the field provided and tap "submit." This will give you two free, 30-minute rides that you can use to travel to and from your vaccine appointment.
You must be 18 or older to ride Blue Bikes. Each individual rider can only use this code one time through Dec. 31. The Blue Bikes free ride code is only valid for trips to and from vaccine sites that are located within the bikeshare program’s service area.
Show us how you used the code by posting photos of your ride to vaccine appointments on your personal social media, tagging Blue Bikes (@BlueBikesNOLA) and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (@BCBSLA), using the hashtag #SleevesUp.
Riders will be charged the standard Blue Bikes rate of 15 cents per minute plus a $1 unlocking fee for any time they ride outside of the free 30 minutes. All other standard Blue Bikes fees such as out-of-hub convenience charge and out-of-service-area fee apply.
Flu Shot Recommendations
Health officials recommend everyone age six months and older get a flu shot each year. It’s especially important for adults 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and people with long-term conditions like heart disease, diabetes or asthma, who are at higher risk for severe complications or death from the flu.
This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends adults 65 and older get a higher-dose version of the flu shot for stronger protection than the standard shot. If you are 65 or older, ask your health care provider or pharmacist about getting a higher-dose flu shot.
Blue Cross and most other health plans cover flu shots at $0 or very low cost. For more information about how you can be STRONGER THAN the flu, visit BCBSLA.com/Flu.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Booster Recommendations
Federal health officials recommend the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone six months and older. In September, updated (bivalent) COVID-19 booster shots became available. Bivalent boosters protect against the more contagious omicron virus variants that have caused the majority of recent cases. The CDC recommends everyone age 5 and older get a bivalent booster shot once it’s been two months since their last COVID-19 vaccine or booster.
Blue Cross and other health plans cover the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters at $0 out of pocket for eligible members of individual and employer health plans. Eligible members of Medicare and Medicaid plans or uninsured patients also can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine at no cost. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires this no-cost coverage.
If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
About Blue Krewe
Founded in New Orleans in 2020, Blue Krewe is a local, community-based non-profit that manages and operates the Blue Bikes program. Recognizing the importance of Blue Bikes as a healthy, equitable, and environmentally-friendly transportation option, local bikeshare enthusiasts - such former Blue Bikes staff, biking and pedestrian advocates, philanthropists and community healthcare advocates - came together to form Blue Krewe. Here at Blue Krewe, we are committed to our mission to provide the Greater New Orleans region with equitable shared micro-mobility solutions that are rooted in and supportive of our community.
The Greater New Orleans Foundation provided critical start-up funding and fiscal sponsorship for Blue Krewe. Blue Krewe's partners include Bike Easy, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans. To donate, volunteer or learn more visit www.BlueKrewe.org.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.