Pandemic Puts Backstage Flu Vaccinations On Pause, But Community Members Can Access Shots through The Actors Fund
Members of the New York City theater community will continue to have access to free flu shots thanks to annual funding from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
The free flu shots will be available through The Actors Fund and Mount Sinai’s Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts (729 Seventh Avenue, 12th Floor, New York, NY) on October 28, October 29, November 11 and November 12, 2021, from 10 am - 2 pm Eastern by appointment. No health insurance required. Sign up at actorsfund.org/flushot2021.
For more than 25 years, the Broadway Cares-funded Flu Shot Initiative, administered by Physician Volunteers for the Arts, has provided flu shots at no cost to theater industry professionals. The shots were provided at more than 150 locations throughout New York City, including Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, rehearsal halls, management and union offices, and more. However due to COVID-19, the on-location program was suspended for 2021.
“Flu vaccine in the amounts necessary to provide shots to the New York theater community had to be pre-ordered last spring at a time when no one knew when theaters would reopen,” said Dr. Barry Kohn, medical director of Physician Volunteers for the Arts. “At a non-refundable cost of $80,000, it was decided then to postpone the on-location flu shot program in hopes that it can return in the future.”
Ensuring the theater community stays as healthy as possible is vitally important to Broadway Cares.
“Even though we had to suspend the flu shots given backstage and in theatrical offices through Physician Volunteers for the Arts, we want to make sure the community continues to have easy access to the flu shots,” Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola said. “Through our annual support of The Actors Fund, we will be able to ensure shots will still be available through The Actors Fund and at The Friedman Health Center for everyone who works in our industry - onstage, backstage and behind the scenes.”
The support to continue the flu shots is just part of Broadway Cares’ ongoing commitment to the health of the entertainment and performing arts community. Just in the last two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the industry, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS provided $18.95 million to The Actors Fund to fund its essential social service programs for the industry. That support included $9.5 million for the Fund’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund and $1.9 million for The Friedman Health Center, which has helped lead COVID-19 testing efforts for the community during the pandemic.