New school schedules, exciting sporting events, and daily homework assignments are already keeping families busy this fall. But how many have taken time to get their annual flu vaccinations? The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that flu vaccination begin as soon as vaccine is available and this year, for the first time, the CDC recommends every eligible American ages six months and older get a seasonal flu vaccine.
To help raise awareness about the importance of annual flu vaccination early in the season and support the expanded CDC recommendations, MedImmune, Women's Professional Soccer (WPS), and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) – along with Brandi Chastain – today launched "When Will You Pick?," a campaign that emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated before the flu strikes with the message: "This Flu Season, Don't Wait to Vaccinate!"
"My top priority is keeping myself and my family healthy and active all season," said Brandi Chastain, international soccer legend and mother of two. "We know that vaccination is the best way to help protect ourselves against the flu, so we make getting a flu vaccine a priority each year, there's no need to wait."
Flu vaccine doses including the nasal spray FluMist® (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal) started shipping in July this year. FluMist is indicated for eligible individuals 2-49 years of age. This year, flu vaccines contain the three strains recommended by the CDC, including the 2009 H1N1 pandemic strain. The most common side effects of FluMist are runny or stuffy nose; sore throat and fever over 100°F.
Parents and families can learn more about the importance of flu vaccination by visiting the "When Will You Pick?" Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dontwaitvaccinate, which offers tips to help people stay healthy throughout the flu season, a quiz to test influenza knowledge, and one-of-a-kind campaign photos and videos, including vignettes with Brandi Chastain. For everyone who "likes" the Facebook fan 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 across the country at WPS games and through local events in communities throughout the season, including Atlanta and Chicago among others.
"Vaccination is the best defense we have against influenza and it's something families should make a priority every year, particularly with the universal CDC recommendation for all eligible individuals age 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine," said Dr. Anat Feingold, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease expert. "In fact, visits to the doctor for back-to-school needs are the perfect opportunity to talk to your healthcare provider about flu vaccination. And if your children's school offers in-school vaccination programs, be sure to fill-out and return consent forms so your children can get vaccinated while they're in school."
As many as 60 million Americans get the flu each year, and resulting complications can be significant. Children between the ages of 2 and 17 are twice as likely to get the flu as adults and are the main source for spreading the flu to others – including family members. No one vaccine is right for everyone, so talk to your doctor about which is best for each member of your family.
As a part of the campaign, MedImmune will be an official sponsor of WPS, the world's premier women's professional soccer league, and AYSO, a nationwide non-profit youth soccer organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs to approximately 600,000 players. MedImmune will be the presenting sponsor of the 2010 WPS semifinal playoff series and the presenting partner of the "Defender of the Year" League Award.
"At MedImmune, we are committed to supporting active, healthy families," said Peter Greenleaf, MedImmune's president. "We're very pleased to again partner with WPS, the AYSO, and of course Brandi Chastain, for the ‘When Will You Pick?' campaign to help bring this important preventive health message to families nationwide."
The campaign reminds families of one key soccer term, G.O.A.L., when thinking about seasonal influenza prevention:
- Get a seasonal flu vaccine every year for eligible family members. And if your child's school has a flu vaccination program, make sure to complete and return the consent form.
- Options are available. Talk to your healthcare provider about what type of flu vaccine – the shot or the nasal spray – is right for you and your family members.
- Avoid germs and illness. Wash hands often, cover sneezes and coughs with a tissue or arm sleeve, avoid those who are sick, and keep yourself and family members home when sick.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle with plenty of sleep, proper nutrition, frequent exercise and plenty of liquids.
FluMist: 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 aspirin.
Children under 2 years of age should not get FluMist because there is a chance they may wheeze (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-Barré 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°F.
Please see accompanying complete Product Information, including Patient Information.
For more information, please visit www.FluMist.com.
MedImmune, the worldwide biologics unit for AstraZeneca PLC (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN), has approximately 3,500 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. With an advancing pipeline of promising drug candidates, MedImmune strives to deliver life-changing products, a rewarding career to our employees and a tireless commitment to improving patient health. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at http://www.medimmune.com/.
About Women's Professional Soccer
The world's premier women's professional soccer league, Women's Professional Soccer began play in 2009 and is dedicated to becoming the global standard for women's professional sports. This year, the WPS includes seven teams: Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Chicago Red Stars, FC Gold Pride from the Bay Area, Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY), Philadelphia Independence and Washington Freedom. MedImmune, the maker of FluMist, is a proud Official Sponsor of WPS. For more information, visit http://womensprosoccer.com or http://facebook.com/womensprosoccer.
About American Youth Soccer Organization
AYSO is a nationwide, non-profit youth soccer organization that develops and delivers quality youth soccer programs in a fun, safe environment based on AYSO's Six Philosophies: Everyone Plays; Balanced Teams; Open Registration; Positive Coaching; Good Sportsmanship; and Player Development. Established in 1964, the organization has been the leader in establishing groundbreaking youth soccer programs in the United States and has paved the road for youth soccer. MedImmune, the maker of FluMist, is a proud Official Sponsor of AYSO. For more information, visit http://soccer.org.