September 28, 2017

Basketball star raises awareness of free flu shots

WNBA star Sue Bird joins Kaiser Permanente and the Seattle Storm to beat the flu with free vaccinations, autograph signings and more

SEATTLE – The WNBA’s all-time assist leader, Sue Bird, wants to tally one additional assist this season, this time, off the court. The basketball star is going to help hundreds to stay healthy this winter flu season, by stepping up to the line for a flu shot.

Bird is joining hundreds of fans on Thursday, Sept. 28 to raise awareness of the flu vaccine at free events around Seattle.

“On the court and off, I want to be at my best. Not protecting myself against the flu would be like skipping practice,” Bird said. “I am going to do everything I can to maintain my health and perform at a high level. The flu shot can help keep me from getting sick, so I always get one.”

Flu can cause serious illness, even death. Last year, the flu claimed a record number of lives in Washington. The State Department of Health reported 276 flu related deaths, seven of whom were young people (aged 0-24). The team of Kaiser Permanente, Seattle Storm and Sue Bird wants to keep people in the game and out of flu’s reach. That’s why they’ve joined forces to take a shot against the flu.

For every shot the Seattle Storm connected on during August, Kaiser Permanente pledged to give away twice as many flu shots this fall. As a result, hundreds of free flu shots are expected to be given away to members of the public, staff at Special Olympics Washington, and to participants at the Smilow Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club.

“A flu shot is the first and best defense against the flu,” said Khushboo Mehta, MD, of Kaiser Permanente. Getting the flu shot will help protect you and other people from getting sick, and the time to get it is now, before the flu season kicks into gear.

“The flu vaccine is safe and effective,” added Dr. Mehta. “It is your best bet for fending off the flu.”

Kaiser Permanente and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone over 6 months of age receive an annual flu shot.

“In addition to immunization, there are tried and tested strategies that we recommend to stay in your best shape,” Dr. Mehta said.

She offered these tips to keep the flu at bay:

  • Get a flu vaccine.
  • Stay home if you’re feeling ill.
  • Wash your hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or sleeve, but not your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest and physical activity.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Contact a doctor if you are not getting better.
  • About the Seattle Storm

    The two-time WNBA champion Seattle Storm is one of six independently owned teams in the WNBA, the world’s most successful women’s professional team sports league. Established in 2000, the Storm is committed to bringing outstanding professional basketball to a fan base rich with tradition and support. The Storm leads the way for change in the community with outreach programs for youth basketball, health and fitness. The organization looks to be an inspiration for girls and women while providing support and motivation to better the Puget Sound. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

    About Kaiser Permanente

    Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: