Detroiters Urged to See Themselves Among the “Faces” of Influenza

Detroit (September 28, 2009)

In an effort to educate Detroit area residents about the importance of annual seasonal influenza vaccination the American Lung Association of Michigan is kicking-off the 2009-2010 Faces of Influenza initiative in Ann Arbor/Detroit area by partnering with the Washtenaw Immunization Action Coalition (WIAC) to conduct two influenza panel discussions scheduled for September 28 and October 5. The meetings will address the latest flu statistics and benefits of vaccination, particularly high-risk groups.


Public health experts, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommend seasonal influenza vaccination as the first line of defense this year in protecting against the influenza virus.


The recent H1N1 outbreak is a strong reminder that influenza is not the common cold. It’s a serious respiratory illness. Each year, approximately 226,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 die due to influenza-related complications. 


The American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign encourages local residents to see themselves and their loved ones among the many “faces” of influenza – people who fall into one or more target groups recommended for annual vaccination by the CDC. 


WIAC Hosting Community Discussion Panel on Influenza

In support of the initiative, many community leaders including individuals from the Washtenaw County Health Department, and local physicians will serve as speakers at the seasonal influenza panel discussions. Additionally, Zack Yaksich, a local Detroit resident who lost his 5-year-old daughter, Alana, to complication from influenza will be in attendance to help reinforce that vaccination is the best protection available against the disease.


Since Alana’s death, Zack has joined the American Lung Association of Michigan’s Faces of Influenza program to educate others about the importance of annual influenza vaccination for the entire household and help prevent similar tragedies from striking other families.


“Parents need to know that it’s so important to get their family vaccinated against influenza every single year,” Zack Yaksich said.


The meetings will take place at the following locations:

September 28, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.                  October 5, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

Ypsilanti District Library                                Ann Arbor District Library

5577 Whittaker Rd                                         2359 Oak Valley Dr

Ypsilanti, MI 48197                                        Ann Arbor, MI 48103