BLOG: Looking Back at the Health Department’s Successful Flu Vaccine Campaign
By: Dr. Karen Murphy, Secretary of Health
January 28, 2016
Last fall, the Pennsylvania Department of Health launched our “Stopping the Flu Starts with You” campaign, aimed at increasing awareness about flu prevention and providing access to free and reduced costs vaccines. During the campaign, we held 140 clinics at our health centers across the state. Remarkably, almost 1,000 PA residents received flu vaccines at these clinics.
In a combined effort among myself, Pennsylvania’s Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, and Deputy Secretary for Health Promotion Dr. Loren Robinson, my department also made numerous public appearances and reached out to Pennsylvanians statewide via our social media in order to further spread valuable information about preventing the flu.
We have worked hard to educate people about easy ways to prevent the flu. It is my hope that greater awareness will mean fewer cases of flu in the commonwealth this season.
As a culmination of the “Stopping the Flu Starts with You” campaign, we hosted clinics at the eight-day 100th PA Farm Show.
Traditionally, visitors flock to the popular Pennsylvania Farm Show each year to enjoy world class milkshakes, pet farm animals and view the famed butter sculpture. But this year, more than 1,000 people also got free flu vaccines.
The Department of Health’s daily flu clinics were a resounding success. In addition to protecting their health, and the health of others, by getting a flu vaccine, visitors to the department’s booth had the opportunity to learn a life-saving skill. The hands on, “hands free” CPR demonstration was conducted daily under the guidance of our Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.
I want to remind all Pennsylvania residents that it is never too late to get your flu vaccine. Those who missed out on the Farm Show clinics and meet eligibility requirements still have the opportunity to sign up and get free or reduced cost flu vaccines at any of our state health centers while supplies last.
Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and those around you from seasonal influenza. The Health Department recommends the flu vaccine for everyone over the age of 6 months. It is especially important for older individuals, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions that place them at increased risk of complications from the flu.
In addition to getting vaccinated, to best avoid receiving or spreading the flu, everyone should also:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Keep your hands away from your face and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. This is one way germs spread.
- Disinfect frequently used surfaces – like doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes, etc.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing – then throw the used tissue in the trash.
- Avoid contact with sick people. If YOU are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours until after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
More information is available at FLUFREEPA.COM or by calling 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258).
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