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"Don't Play with the Flu"™ Campaign to Coach Families on Playing Defense Against Seasonal Flu

Soccer Champions Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain Kick Off National Effort to Increase Seasonal Flu Vaccination Rates for Eligible Kids and Families

New York, NY (PRWEB) August 20, 2009 -- MedImmune, Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) and the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) today officially launched "Don't Play with the Flu,"™ a national health awareness campaign that aims to highlight the importance of getting a seasonal influenza vaccination every year. "Don't Play with the Flu" kicks off today in New York City with a one-of-a-kind soccer clinic led by soccer legends and moms Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the single best way families can help prevent the seasonal flu is by getting a flu vaccine - every year - for those individuals who are eligible to receive it. The CDC recommends that children 6 months through 18 years of age be vaccinated annually against seasonal flu and that eligible individuals be immunized as soon as the seasonal vaccine becomes available, which can be as early as August and September.

"We know a vaccine is the best way to help protect ourselves from the flu, so my family and I get a seasonal flu vaccine as soon as we can every year," said Mia Hamm, international soccer legend and proud mother of 2-year-old twins. "That way we can concentrate on all the other things we regularly do to stay healthy on and off the field and in our busy lives."

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.
  • 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.

"Along with all the things that parents know are important for helping keep their kids healthy - like washing hands and getting enough sleep - influenza vaccination should be at the top of the list. It's a smart defense to help protect our kids - and our families - from seasonal flu," said Anat R. Feingold, M.D., a pediatric infectious disease expert. "And because kids can spread the flu, including at school, it's important that parents ask about an annual flu vaccine as soon as it is available. Back-to-school and sports physicals can be the perfect opportunity."

According to the CDC, each year, as many as 60 million Americans get the flu, and the resulting complications cause more than 200,000 hospitalizations. Children between 2 and 17 years of age are twice as likely to get the flu as adults and commonly need medical care. Flu can also impact school, with one analysis showing students missed approximately 38 million school days due to seasonal flu in one year.

The campaign offers families information, resources, and updates through Parents and kids can find interactive content, including a quiz about seasonal flu, educational information, and insights into the lives of soccer stars, moms and role models Hamm and Chastain. The campaign also aims to educate families about the importance of seasonal flu vaccination for eligible individuals through informational brochures at WPS stadiums, media events and soccer clinics in WPS franchise cities, and directly to AYSO members and families around the country.

"'Don't Play with the Flu' reflects MedImmune's commitment to supporting healthy families," said Tony Zook, president of MedImmune. "We're very pleased to partner with Women's Professional Soccer, the American Youth Soccer Organization, and of course Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, to bring this important preventive health message to families across the country this flu season."

As a part of the campaign, MedImmune has become a 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 is the presenting sponsor of the 2009 WPS Championship in Los Angeles this Saturday, Aug. 22, and will also present the "Defender of the Year" award at the WPS All-Star Game in St. Louis on Sunday, Aug. 30. MedImmune manufactures FluMist® (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal), the nasal spray flu vaccine against seasonal influenza for eligible individuals 2 - 49 years of age. See important safety and eligibility information below.

For more information about today's event, including time and location, please contact Paddi Hurley, Fleishman-Hillard, 917-743-2290 or paddi.hurley (at)

Important Safety and Eligibility information for FluMist

Who may be eligible for FluMist® (Influenza Vaccine Live, Intranasal)?
FluMist is a vaccine approved for the prevention of certain types of influenza disease in children, adolescents and adults 2-49 years of age. FluMist may not protect everyone who gets it. FluMist is for intranasal administration only.

Who may not be able to get FluMist?
FluMist is not right for everyone. FluMist must not be given to: people with history of hypersensitivity to eggs, egg proteins, gentamicin, gelatin or arginine; people with life-threatening reactions to previous influenza vaccinations; and children and adolescents receiving aspirin or aspirin-containing therapy. Children less than 24 months of age are not eligible for FluMist.

The following people may not be able to get FluMist or may be able to get it only in certain situations: people with asthma or active wheezing, or children less than 5 years of age with recurrent wheezing; people with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome; people with a weakened immune system; people with long-term medical conditions including heart disease, kidney disease, and metabolic diseases, such as diabetes; and pregnant women.

If a child falls into one of these groups, a healthcare provider can decide if FluMist is right for that child.

What are the most common side effects of FluMist?
Most common side effects included runny nose or nasal congestion, sore throat, and fever. For a full list of side effects, please see section 6.1 in the following product information.

Please see the complete product information.

For more information, please visit

About MedImmune:
MedImmune, the worldwide biologics business for AstraZeneca PLC (LSE: AZN.L, NYSE: AZN), has approximately 3,100 employees worldwide and is headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland. With an advancing pipeline of promising candidates, we aim to be the next revolutionary force in biotechnology by delivering life-changing products, industry-leading performance, and a tireless commitment to improving patient health. For more information, visit MedImmune's website at

About Women's Professional Soccer:
Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) is the premier women's soccer league in the world and the global standard by which women's professional sports are measured. The Inaugural Season kicked off on March 29 and runs through August 30, 2009, with WPS teams based in the Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. The league's eighth and ninth franchises in Philadelphia and Atlanta will begin play in 2010. For more information, visit

About American Youth Soccer Organization:
The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) is the largest single-entity youth soccer association in the U.S. with nearly 600,000 players and 225,000 volunteers. AYSO develops and delivers quality youth soccer development programs in a fun, safe environment based on the Six Philosophies of Everyone Plays®, Balanced Teams, Open Registration, Positive Coaching, Good Sportsmanship and Player Development. For questions about AYSO, please contact Sahar Milani at 310-727-5421 or SaharMilani (at)


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