Actress and Mother Jennifer Garner Encourages Americans to get an Influenza Vaccination

Garner to Kick-Off Faces of Influenza Campaign in New York City Monday, November 12

New York, NY (October 18, 2007)

Actress Jennifer Garner joins the American Lung Association in a new role as national spokesperson for the Association’s Faces of Influenza education campaign. As one of the many “faces” of influenza, she will encourage families to speak with their health-care providers about annual influenza vaccination.

The Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza campaign aims to put a “face” on influenza (the eighth leading cause of death when combined with pneumonia) and to stress the importance of annual influenza immunization throughout the fall and winter months.  As a mother of a young child, Garner is one of the more than 220 million “faces” recommended to be vaccinated this and every year.

“Women play an important role in a family. It’s our job to take care of those we love, that’s why I make sure my family is protected against influenza,” said Garner.  “As one of the many Faces of Influenza, you and I and those close to us need to get vaccinated. Influenza is not the common cold. It’s serious.”

On average, approximately 36,000 people die and about 226,000 are hospitalized due to influenza and its complications in the US every year.  More than 2 out of every 3 Americans are recommended for annual vaccination but immunization rates fall far short every year, leaving many unprotected and at risk for severe illness.

Garner is joined by other celebrities, public health officials and everyday people who are part of the Faces of Influenza initiative. Other prominent individuals include: actor Dean Cain, who played Superman on ABC’s Lois and Clark; Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi; Olympic Gold Medalist, WNBA basketball star Sheryl Swoopes; Dr. Joyce Brothers, well-known psychologist and advice columnist; Joy Behar, comedian and co-host of ABC’s The View; Olympic Gold Medalist Vonetta Flowers; and actor Peter Gallagher.

Each is sharing his or her personal stories on national and local levels about the serious impact influenza and are encouraging influenza vaccination among target groups -- according to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“Through the Faces of Influenza program, the American Lung Association’s goal is to reinforce how serious this disease can be for both healthy and high-risk individuals and to emphasize the importance of annual vaccination to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” said Norman Edelman, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association.  “We encourage anyone wanting to prevent influenza to get vaccinated at some point throughout the season, which can be beneficial well into the new year.”

To learn whether you are a “face” of influenza, and where to find a local clinic to receive an influenza vaccination, visit
www.facesofinfluenza.org

The campaign will officially kick-off on November 12 with a public vaccination clinic in New York City, where Garner will join Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, MD, MPH and others in encouraging people to seek influenza immunization for themselves and their families. Since the influenza season typically does not peak until February, vaccination should continue throughout the fall and winter months, and even into the spring.

Faces of Influenza Awareness Activities
The Faces of Influenza initiative will conduct widespread awareness activities during the influenza season, including national distribution of new television and radio public service announcements featuring Jennifer Garner.  In addition, the campaign features a photo exhibition of dramatic black-and-white portraits and personal stories featuring celebrities and everyday Americans who fall into one or more of groups CDC recommends for annual influenza vaccination.

Cornerstones of the Faces of Influenza initiative are the Faces of Influenza Portrait Gallery and Portrait Book – a photo book and exhibition of dramatic black-and-white portraits and compelling personal stories of famous and not-so-famous Americans, who fall into one or more of the groups recommended for immunization by the CDC.

Visitors to the Web site, www.facesofinfluenza.org, can also view the photographs and stories featured in the Faces of Influenza Portrait Gallery.  The site offers reporters, consumers and health-care providers various educational materials about influenza and the importance of immunization.  These materials are provided in a template and ready-to-use format, and are also available on a CD-ROM.  To request a copy of the complete resource kit, e-mail info@facesofinfluenza.org.  

About Influenza
Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that, along with its complications, kills an average of 36,000 Americans and puts approximately 226,000 in the hospital each year. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for anyone wishing to reduce the risk of this disease or spreading it to others.  Other target groups include: adults and children with a chronic medical condition, such as asthma, COPD and diabetes, people 50 years of age and older, pregnant women and children 6-59 months of age, as well as their household contacts and caregivers which includes health-care providers, babysitters and others. 

American Lung Association Flu Clinic Locator Now Available Online
The Lung Association continues to offer its online Flu Clinic Locator as a public service. By typing in their 5-digit zip code, site visitors can receive a list of immunization clinics in their area.  Site visitors may also schedule reminders and sign up to receive seasonal influenza news. The Flu Clinic Locator will remain active as long as public flu immunization clinics are offered. 

About the American Lung Association
Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.”

For more information
For more information about the Faces of Influenza educational initiative, visit
www.facesofinfluenza.org. For information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to www.lung.org.

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