Originally published December 5, 2011
Last year, Georgia ranked 41st in the United States in the percentage of residents who received a flu shot, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) knows we can do better. National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 4 – 10, emphasizes the importance of flu vaccinations and presents an ideal time to improve our ranking and keep Georgians healthy. The DPH immunization program developed a media toolkit for district immunization coordinators and their public information officers to promote the week through local press releases, letters and fact sheets. Statewide, local newspapers and radio stations were asked to remind their audiences that it is never too late to vaccinate and that flu shots are conveniently available not only in doctor’s offices, clinics and pharmacies, but also at their local public health departments.
Through extensive outreach, 24 radio stations and their affiliates statewide have aired public service announcements on behalf of DPH encouraging all Georgians six months and older get their flu vaccination to protect from this year’s flu. WGAU Athens conducted an interview with Ben Sloat, the adult immunization coordinator for DPH about the current state of flu in Georgia, ways to prevent the flu and why it is important to get immunized. The interview aired live but can still be heard on the WGAU Athens website. In addition, 25 local newspapers from around the state have printed health briefs or articles to promote National Influenza Vaccination Week.
Immunization is one of the most effective ways to protect children and adults against many common infectious diseases including the flu; and vaccines are available in a wide variety of locations. So for National Influenza Vaccination Week, let us all do our part in encouraging our family, friends, coworkers and neighbors to take the first step in preventing flu and get vaccinated.