Medical City Arlington December 09, 2014

Leaders will encourage Texans to get their flu shots NOW

A wide array of Texas pharmacists, health care organizations, legislators and others are launching an outreach campaign to educate people on the importance of receiving the flu vaccination and to encourage them to act now. The Vaccinate Texas campaign, which runs from now until the end of the year, highlights cultural aspects unique to Texas, and is geared towards all residents and workers.

“The goal of the campaign is simple: to get as many people vaccinated as possible.” said Frank Koen, Market Director of Pharmacy Operations for Walgreens. “Despite widespread availability of the seasonal flu vaccine, not enough people are receiving it. We need to get the message out that everyone needs the flu vaccine, even people who are healthy.”

Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves—and others—from contracting this serious, contagious illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all Americans age six months and older receive a flu vaccination every year. While vaccination offers the best protection against the flu, fewer than half of Texans (45.2%) age six months and older received the flu vaccine during the 2013 - 2014 flu season, according to the CDC. Texans deserve better and this year it is easier than ever to get vaccinated.

Vaccine access has expanded in recent years through legislation allowing pharmacists to give the flu vaccine to adults and children age seven and older, and through the proliferation of immunization clinics in private practice and community settings. Most pharmacies and local health departments have a supply of the vaccine on hand. In addition, many organizations, including churches and community centers, offer walk-in immunization clinics at specific dates and times.

“Vaccines help protect individuals from infections and communities from outbreaks and pharmacies are a key part of the immunization front line,” said Dr. Julie Gerberding, President, Merck Vaccines and former CDC Director.

According to the Trust for America’s Health, an estimated:

  • One in five Americans will get the flu this year;
  • Anywhere from 3,000 – 49,000 individuals will die from a flu-related illness; more than 200,000 will be hospitalized;
  • The flu costs more than $10 billion in direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost earnings.

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