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Families Fighting Flu Board Member Speaks at 42nd Annual National Immunization Conference
Date:3/20/2008

- Joe Lastinger Stresses Importance of Why All Children Need to be Vaccinated Against the Flu -

ATLANTA, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Families Fighting Flu, Inc. (FFF) Board Member Joe Lastinger spoke today at the Closing Plenary Session of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Immunization Conference in Atlanta, GA about his daughter's fatal experience with influenza and stressed the seriousness of influenza and the importance of vaccinating all children against the disease. This was the first time a FFF member has spoken at this conference.

Since facing the personal tragedy of losing their 3 1/2-year-old daughter, Emily, to the flu in 2004, Joe and his wife, Jennifer, along with the other member families of FFF, have dedicated themselves to educating people about influenza in kids in the hope that other parents will not have to experience the same heartbreak of losing a child to a vaccine preventable illness.

"My wife and I lost our beautiful, healthy daughter to the flu," said Joe Lastinger. "Emily did not have to die. Had she been vaccinated against the flu she may still be with us today. It's a tragedy that no parent should ever have to experience, especially when it can potentially be avoided with a simple annual flu vaccination," continued Lastinger.

At the time of Emily's death, the CDC did not recommend vaccinating children against the flu under the age of 23 months. However, in February 2008, FFF and the entire influenza community accomplished a monumental achievement when the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) expanded its influenza vaccination recommendations to include all children ages six months to 18 years. Previous recommendations included all children aged six months to 59 months. This new recommendation will be implemented as soon as feasible, but no later than the 2009-2010 influenza season.

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SOURCE Families Fighting Flu
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