The director of California’s Public Health Department (CDPH) announced today an exciting new program to help Californians find local H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine sites. Cell phone users will be able to text the word “NO FLU” and their zip code to 30644 and receive vital flu-related information including alerts and the nearest vaccination location.
“Young people are still among the high-risk groups to experience H1N1 complications and text messaging is an ideal way to reach them,” said CDPH’s Director Dr. Mark Horton. “In addition to reaching young people, the easy-to-use text messaging technology provides a very convenient way for all busy Californians to find their local flu vaccination site and stay healthy during the flu season.”
In addition to mobile devices, the same functionality is available on a Facebook application, Twitter and Web widgets, allowing flu information to be easily shared. CDPH is promoting the campaign through outdoor advertising, public service announcements and social media.
The text messaging campaign launches during National Influenza Vaccine Week, January 10th-16th, highlighting the importance of influenza vaccination beyond the holiday season.
In addition to getting vaccinated, CDPH urges everyone to 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 can’t wash your hands. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and
· Covering your coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or a tissue.
H1N1 flu is still widespread throughout parts of the state. To date, 8,308 people have been hospitalized with H1N1 and 470 have died in California.