Everyone is a "Face" of Influenza: Now is the Time to Get Vaccinated

(September 24, 2012)

Influenza Vaccination with Sarah Chalke
Sarah Chalke, actress and national spokesperson for the Faces of Influenza campaign, received her flu shot to help protect herself and her young son from this serious disease.
Flu season has just begun, so now is the time to get vaccinated against influenza, a potentially life-threatening disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual influenza vaccination. The American Lung Association is doing its part to help raise immunization rates by collaborating with Sanofi Pasteur on its Faces of Influenza campaign to encourage everyone to see themselves and those they love as the “faces” of influenza.

Leading the effort is Actress Sarah Chalke, known for her roles as a doctor on the popular TV series “Scrubs” and daughter on the hit sitcom “Roseanne.” This fall, she will be starring in the new family comedy “How to Live With Your Parents for the Rest of Your Life.” As a mother with a young child, she takes her family’s health more seriously than ever – and that includes helping protect them from influenza.

“Like all mothers, I do whatever I can to keep my child healthy, and an important part of this is having him immunized against the flu,” said Ms. Chalke. “And, to make sure the people in my son’s life don’t spread the virus to him, my family and I have all gotten our flu shots and will continue getting immunized every year.”

Also joining the campaign is actress Maria Canals Barrera, who will spread the message as spokesperson for the Spanish language Rostros de la gripe campaign. As a mother, Maria makes the health of her family a priority and helps encourage Hispanic Americans to keep their communities healthy and strong through annual influenza immunization. Vaccination is especially important for Hispanic Americans, who have increased rates of chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, putting them at increased risk of developing complications from influenza.

“We are all ‘faces’ of influenza, and we know people whose lives have been tragically affected by the illness,” said Norman H. Edelman, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association. “Vaccination is safe and effective, and is the best way to help prevent influenza. Now there are influenza vaccination options available for every age group – children, adults and seniors – people should talk with their health care provider to find the option that’s right for them and each member of their family.”

To learn more, visit: www.facesofinfluenza.org.

About Influenza

Influenza is a serious respiratory illness. Each year in the U.S., on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations. Depending on virus severity during the influenza season, deaths can range from 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

Vaccination is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for everyone 6 months of age and older, and is especially important for pregnant women and people 50 years of age and older, as they are at a higher risk of developing influenza-related complications. This year, parents need to know the CDC recommends that children 6 months through 8 years of age receiving a flu shot for the first time receive two doses approximately one month apart for optimal protection.

With more than 300 million Americans recommended for annual vaccination, immunization rates in the U.S. continue to fall short of public health goals each year. In fact, a March 2012 National Immunization Survey showed that fewer than half of children ages 6 months to 17 years were immunized during the 2011-2012 flu season.

The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza educational initiative is made possible through a collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur.