The Golden State’s top health leader announced today that a priority for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) in the New Year is to get as many Californians as possible vaccinated for both the H1N1 and seasonal flu.
To achieve the goal, Dr. Mark Horton said the Department will launch an extensive outreach campaign beginning with a television public service announcement (PSA) this week, followed by an opportunity for radio stations throughout the state to host live interviews with CDPH experts about the importance of vaccination during National Influenza Vaccination Week (January 11 – 17). In addition, three radio PSAs targeting teens and their parents will air during Preteen Vaccine Week (January 17-23).
“Millions of Californians remain susceptible to the H1N1 virus,” Horton said. “And because seasonal flu typically ramps up this time of year and remains a threat, we’re reminding everyone how critical it is to be protected against these flu viruses. We strongly recommend that all Californians get both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines, which are now available to the general public in most areas.”
Created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the television PSA, “I never get the flu,” was developed from common excuses for not getting vaccinated: “I never get the flu;” “I’m pregnant;” “My asthma’s under control;” “The media is exaggerating;” and, “My kids are too old to get the flu,” are among the many excuses highlighted in the 30- and 60-second spots.
Corresponding with National Influenza Vaccination Week, radio stations will be provided an opportunity to interview the state’s leading public health physicians. The interviews will stress the importance of vaccination, clear up any fears or myths, and direct people to vaccination locations in their communities.
During Preteen Vaccination Week, three radio PSAs will air on stations throughout the state. English and Spanish PSAs created by CDPH target parents of preteens, while a vaccine rap PSA produced by the California Immunization Coalition targets preteens directly.
In addition to getting vaccinated, CDPH recommends everyone help prevent the spread of the flu by:
· Staying home if you are sick;
· Washing your hands often. Carry hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are not able to wash your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and
· Covering your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue.
CDPH reports the H1N1 flu is still widespread throughout parts of the state. To date, 8075 Californians have been hospitalized with H1N1, and 461 have died.
For more information on H1N1 vaccine availability check CDPH’s Web site and use the flu vaccine locator.