Friday Flu Shot: This Week's Voices for Vaccines
Dec 09, 2011

As I mentioned in Monday’s post, I recently hosted a special conference call that was intended to provide other bloggers with information on seasonal influenza and the universal recommendation of flu vaccine.  The call included remarks from both Dr. Schaffner, an influenza expert and current president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, as well as Jen Lastinger, a parent advocate from Families Fighting Flu, who lost her young daughter Emily to influenza.
After the call, I was especially motivated to discover all the passionate voices for vaccines there are out there.  Even though all the participants heard the same things, it’s each participant chose a unique way to share this important information.  Each article I read was accurate, informative and inspiring.  As a parent, concerned about the growing trend of vaccine hesitancy and the spread of misinformation on the internet, I’m extremely proud and honored to be able to collaborate with so many responsible, caring and intelligent people.  People who, despite frequent attacks from vaccine opponents, continue to use their blogs and their talent as writers, to speak out in favor of vaccines.  Together, we are creating a cooperative network of vaccine supporters who will continue to share positive immunization messages, such as those echoed by Jen Lastinger on our call.

“Please vaccinate your children, and yourself, this and every flu season. It could save the life of someone you love.”

As we wrap up National Influenza Vaccination Week,  I would like to highlight some of this week’s unique perspectives on the issue of influenza in our community:
Shannon Des Roches Rosa contributed a detailed transcript of the call within her BlogHer article entitled Why Every Last Mother and Child Needs a Flu Shot.  This piece provides readers with a better understanding of both the medical and emotional effects of influenza.   She also posted A Critical Flu Season Q & A, on her Squidilicious blog, which offers an insider’s view of the question and answer segment that concluded the call with Dr. Schaffner and Jen Lastinger.  From the questions posed, it’s clear that each call participant had experience and knowledge about flu communication efforts and were helping to address the concerns that face parent’s today.  As always, Shannon made sure that she covered the call completely and accurately so that her readers could be well-informed.  She concludes her post on Squidilicious by drawing attention to specific examples of how “dramatically misinformed vaccine opponents” are making it necessary to “communicate helpful, correct vaccine information” on a regular basis and we are grateful that she is a part of these efforts.
The information from the call also resulted in a very prominent piece on the Moms Who Vax blog.  Their Loss, Your Decision not only went into great detail about little Emily’s battle with influenza and the impact the flu has had on the Lastinger family, but it also helped address various myths about the flu vaccine.  Myths that, sadly, have been difficult to dispel.  Myths that are, unfortunately, keeping people from protecting themselves and their family from seasonal influenza.
Since there were several doctors and pediatricians who participated, I want to emphasize how grateful I am that these medical professionals not only educate people through their private practice, but also take the time to blog about important immunization issues as well.  I especially enjoyed the way in which Dr. Lara Zibner’s was able to weave her flu message into an entertaining post entitled I’m A Bully. Yes I Am.   In this piece she shares a personal story about her own child care provider who claims to never get sick and then openly admits she’s a flu shot bully when it comes to encouraging others to be vaccinated for flu.
As the pediatric contributor to About.com , Dr. Iannelli is often heard addressing concerns over outbreaks of  vaccine preventable diseases, and this week he shared his views about the influenza vaccination to kick off NIVW with an introduction to Emily’s story.  Various other articles at About.com have also helped provide critical flu information this week such as Your Flu Vaccine Options, Flu Vaccine for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers, Flu Shots for Those With Chronic Conditions and Flu Shot for Kids.  Others doctors such as Dr. Natasha Burgett of KC Kids Doc and Dr. Swanson of Seattle Mama Doc frequently discuss immunizations and have specifically encouraged readers to get their flu vaccine.
Again, the intent of National Influenza Vaccination Week is to raise awareness of influenza vaccination, and to foster greater use of the flu vaccine after the holiday season and into January.  It’s important that people realize it’s not too late to get vaccinated.  During the busy holiday season, I can’t think of anyone who can afford to be sick, or who would want to suffer with the flu. Get yourself vaccinated and you’ll be doing yourself, your family and your community a great service.
A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated in National Influenza Vaccination Week.


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