GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Families are busy enough during the back-to-school season new class schedules, countless extracurricular activities, and daily homework assignments without having to worry about the flu. To help raise awareness about the importance of annual influenza vaccination as the recommended best defense against the disease, MedImmune, along with soccer legend and mom Brandi Chastain, today launched the second year of "When Will You Pick?," a national education campaign that encourages all eligible family members this flu season to "Don't Wait to Vaccinate!"
"My goal every year is to not to wait to vaccinate. As a mom, keeping my family healthy and active is at the top of my to-do list, so we make sure to get our flu vaccine as soon as possible every year," Chastain said. "Make an appointment today with your doctor to help keep yourself and your eligible family members protected. Also, if your children's school offers an in-school vaccination program, be sure to fill out and return consent forms so they can get vaccinated at school."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all eligible Americans 6 months and older receive the flu vaccine, beginning as soon as the vaccine is available each year.(1) Even though the 2011-2012 flu vaccine contains the same three strains as last year, the CDC encourages people to get vaccinated each year, regardless of whether the viruses in the vaccine have changed or not since the previous season because immunity can wane over time.(2)
Seasonal flu vaccines, including the nasal spray FluMist® (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal), started shipping in August of this year. MedImmune expects to provide approximately 15 to 16 million doses of FluMist for the 2011-2012 influenza season.
FluMist is a nasal spray flu vaccine for eligible kids and adults 2- 49 years old. It starts fighting the flu where it usually starts -- the nose. The most common side effectsof FluMist are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, and fever over 100 degrees F.
Parents and families can learn more about the importance of flu vaccination by visiting the campaign's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dontwaitvaccinate, which offers tips to help stay healthy throughout the flu season, a quiz to test influenza knowledge, and one-of-a-kind campaign photos and videos featuring Chastain. Additionally, for everyone who "likes" the page, $1 (up to $50,000) will be donated by MedImmune to help support the nationwide flu vaccination education efforts of the non-profit organization, Families Fighting Flu. The campaign will also reach families through local events at school-located vaccination clinics across the country throughout the season, including Atlanta, Minneapolis, and Houston.
"Vaccination is the best defense we have against influenza. Families should make vaccination a priority every year," said Dr. Anat Feingold, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease expert and mother of three. "Individuals should also take everyday steps to help prevent the spread of germs, such as washing their hands and covering their coughs, but vaccination is the most important protection step one can take."
An average of 5-20 percent of the U.S. population becomes ill with the flu each year, which can result in significant complications.(3) Children between the ages of 2 to 17 are twice as likely to get the flu as adults and can spread the flu to family members.(4) Not every flu vaccine option is right for everyone, so parents are recommended to talk to their doctor about which option is best for each eligible family member.
"MedImmune is committed to supporting the annual U.S. influenza vaccination campaign, starting as early as possible each year," said Chris Ambrose, M.D., Senior Director of Medical & Scientific Affairs. "We are also thrilled to team-up with Brandi Chastain again this year to help share important messages about flu prevention with families across the country."
Important Safety and Eligibility Information
What is FluMist®(Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal)?
FluMist is a vaccine that is sprayed into the nose to help protect against influenza. It can be used in children, adolescents, and adults ages 2 through 49. FluMist may not prevent influenza in everyone who gets vaccinated.
Who should not get FluMist?
You should not get FluMist if you: are allergic to eggs, gentamicin, gelatin, or arginine; have ever had a life-threatening reaction to influenza vaccinations; or are 2 through 17 years old and take aspirin or medicines containing aspirinchildren or adolescents should not be given aspirin for 4 weeks after getting FluMist unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
Children under 2 years old should not get FluMist because there is a chance they may wheeze (have difficulty with breathing) after getting FluMist.
Who may not be able to get FluMist?
Tell your healthcare provider if you: are currently wheezing; have a history of wheezing if under 5 years old; have had Guillain-Barre syndrome; have a weakened immune system or live with someone who has a severely weakened immune system; have problems with your heart, kidneys, or lungs; have diabetes; are pregnant or nursing; or are taking Tamiflu®, Relenza®, amantadine, or rimantadine.
They will decide if FluMist is right for you.
What are the most common side effects of FluMist?
The most common side effects of FluMist are runny or stuffy nose; sore throat; and fever over 100 degrees F.
Please see accompanying complete Product Information, including patient information at www.medimmune.com.
For more information, please visit www.FluMist.com.
MedImmune, the global biologics unit for AstraZeneca PLC, has approximately 3,500 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at www.medimmune.com.
(1) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/keyfacts.htm. Accessed September 13, 2011.
(2) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vaccine Selection for the 20112012 Influenza Season. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccine-selection.htm. Accessed September 13, 2011.
(3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Q&A: Seasonal Influenza. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/disease.htm. Accessed September 13, 2011.
(4) Glezen WP, et al. Influenza virus infections in infants. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1997;16:1065-1068.