ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 6, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- In recognition of Family Vaccination Day today, Families Fighting Flu (FFF) encourages everyone to take an active role in keeping their family healthy this season by getting vaccinated against the flu. To educate the public about the importance of influenza vaccination, FFF is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the fourth year during National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 5-11, 2010 – an observance established to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination after the holiday season and into January and beyond.
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Last year, the CDC estimated that more than 12,000 people in the U.S. died from the flu – 1,200 of them were children. In addition, an estimated 87,000 children were hospitalized due to influenza. Now, the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year, as vaccination is the single best way to prevent the flu in people of all ages.
"Flu viruses are unpredictable as they are constantly changing. Each flu season, different flu viruses can spread, and they can affect people differently," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC. "Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu and spread it to family and friends. This is why the first and most important step in protecting against the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season."
However, despite the recommendation from the CDC, there continues to be a strong need for further education about why kids need to be vaccinated every year. Through a number of initiatives, FFF is taking on the challenge to educate families about how to best protect their children and themselves against influenza.
In a national radio Public Service Announcement (PSA) airing now and throughout the rest of flu season, FFF member Julie Moise talks about how she lost her son, Ian, to the flu merely 30 hours after he showed his first symptom of being sick. In the PSA, Julie urges parents to get their families vaccinated every year. To read Ian Moise's story, click here. Additionally, an audio news release is accompanying the PSA to announce NIVW and further educate families about the seriousness of influenza.
Today, FFF board member, Gary Stein, is participating in a radio media tour to discuss why it's important for everyone in the family to get vaccinated against the flu. Gary lost his 4 1/2-year-old daughter, Jessica, to the flu in February 2002. To read Jessica Stein's story, click here. To view the Stein family video testimonial, click here.
"We can all have a hand in protecting people who are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu, including children. In order to safeguard them from this serious virus, everyone must do their part by getting vaccinated," said Laura Scott, Executive Director of FFF.
To further elevate the importance of vaccination, FFF is challenging people to visit their Facebook page during NIVW and post when and where they were vaccinated against the flu. Users can also post and share with their friends a "Vaccinated Against Flu" badge to show others that they've made flu vaccination a priority.
For more information about the flu, to find flu vaccines in your area or to support flu prevention education, please visit www.familiesfightingflu.org or call 1-888-2ENDFLU (1-888-236-3358).
About Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization established in 2004 that is made up of families and health care practitioners. Each family has experienced first-hand the death of a child due to the flu or has had a child experience severe medical complications from the flu. We are dedicated to educating people about the severity of influenza and the importance of vaccinating children against the flu every year. Through education and advocacy, we hope to improve the rates of childhood flu vaccinations and help reduce the number of childhood illnesses and deaths caused by the flu each year.
SOURCE Families Fighting Flu