Thursday, August 03, 2017
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center is implementing an aggressive campaign beginning Sunday, Aug. 6, to increase the number of children in the Cincinnati area who are vaccinated against influenza.
Pastors at several churches will begin encouraging congregants to get the flu vaccine this year to protect their families.
The campaign will culminate Oct. 8, on First Ladies Health Day, an annual event that brings together many health organizations for screening, immunizations and education at churches and recreation centers. This year, 32 churches and six recreation centers will take part. They are in high-risk, economically disadvantaged neighborhoods with challenging health outcomes.
This is the third year that Cincinnati Children’s will collaborate with Cincinnati First Ladies for Health – a volunteer group that educates and connects communities with resources to help them take charge of their health. In the coming weeks, Cincinnati Children’s will prepare pastors and other church officials to educate their congregants about the value of the influenza vaccine.
Congregations will be announcing in the coming weeks the 16 locations where families can go to be immunized. Cincinnati Children’s is hoping to immunize children, while Kroger is collaborating in the effort to immunize adults. Also collaborating in this effort is the Cincinnati Recreation Commission and the Cincinnati Health Department.
Last year on First Ladies Health Day, only 35 percent of parents reported their children having had a flu shot in the past 12 months. The Cincinnati Health Department reports that the number of students who get the vaccine has been declining. In 2014, they say, 6,200 were immunized. In 2015, that declined to 4,600. In 2016, it declined further to 3,823.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for everyone 6-months-old and older. The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk of getting influenza and spreading the disease to others. Moreover, the vaccine cannot give someone the flu. The vaccine not only reduced influenza but also medical visits, missed days of school and work, and potential hospitalizations.
For more information on the Cincinnati Children’s campaign and the larger First Ladies Health Initiative, visit the First Ladies for Health website.