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Volume 27, Issue 3

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Are We Ready for America′s Next Flu Challenge?

CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden joins leading medical/public health experts at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) news conference, Wednesday, Sept. 21st,  to call on all Americans to get vaccinated against influenza

Just two years ago, an influenza pandemic swept the globe, causing hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths in the United States alone, including the deaths of an estimated 1,280 children. Since then, we′ve made significant strides in immunizing Americans, and we′re now seeing positive shifts in the public′s understanding of the impact influenza can have. On September 21, leading public health and medical experts will gather in Washington, D.C. to discuss national readiness for the 2011–2012 influenza season – with the goal of continuing the upward trend in influenza vaccination rates.

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, will be among the experts on a panel being convened from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. by the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID). Other representatives from academia, government, health professional societies, and the public health field will include:

William Schaffner, MD, President, NFID; Professor and Chair, Department of Preventive Medicine, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Richard Beigi, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
University of Pittsburgh; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, American Pharmacists Association, Indian Health Service, National Hispanic Medical Association, and the National Medical Association, among other organizations will be represented and available for the Q&A session.

The toll that influenza will take each season may be unpredictable, but one constant is the need for everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated annually in order to decrease the impact of this contagious disease. The panel will highlight expectations and the outlook for the upcoming 2011–2012 influenza season and address the following:

Manufacturer projections of an ample vaccine supply and a growing number of options for vaccination; including the intradermal vaccine that uses a much smaller needle and a high–dose vaccine for older Americans, as well as a nasal spray vaccine
Why more Americans are choosing to make influenza vaccination a health priority: final data on the number of people vaccinated last season
The growing number of vaccination locations, making it easier for everyone to get immunized
New influenza vaccination recommendations; other prevention and treatment measures, including proper use of influenza antiviral medications

Pneumococcal disease as a serious complication of influenza; about 73 million US adults who need this vaccine have not yet received it
Challenges for the next decade of protection

Achieving public health targets for vaccination rates, particularly among pregnant women and ethnic populations
Continuing to inform the public′s perceptions; more awareness about infection control, disease impact, safety, and a strong recommendation, could motivate more people to get vaccinated

Visual/Photo Opp: In calling on all Americans to get vaccinated, NFID will ask Dr. Frieden to lead by example and get vaccinated at the news conference.

DATE/TIME: Wednesday, September 21; 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE:The National Press Club, 14th and F Streets, NW, 13th Floor, First Amendment Lounge, Washington, DC

Live webcast and teleconference will be available

Teleconference: 800–954–0691
Webinar: http://www.visualwebcaster.com/NFID2011–NewsConference (pre–registration required)


CONTACT: Jennifer Bender, 212–886–2233, jbender@alembichealth.com

Pre–registration for attendance is preferred. Journalists must present media identification or a business card issued by a recognized news organization. Freelance journalists must present a letter of assignment on letterhead from a recognized news organization and a business card.