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Health First Strongly Encourages Community to Get Flu Vaccination: Virus Proves Deadly in Brevard County, Florida

Rockledge, FL (PRWEB) January 08, 2014

Two patients with the flu are currently on life support at Brevard County, Florida hospitals and a woman in her late 30s recently passed away from the flu virus. Healthcare facilities across the state are seeing an increase in flu cases and according to the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County, most of the flu cases being reported are the H1N1 influenza—which is covered by the vaccine. Health First (an integrated delivery network) and the Florida Department of Health strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated for the flu to protect themselves and help reduce the spread of this deadly virus.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the flu kills about 36,000 people every year in the U.S. and is reporting flu activity is increasing nationally—and expects that trend to continue. “The best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated,” says Director of the Florida Department of Health in Brevard County Dr. Heidar Heshmati. “That’s truly the only way to prevent an outbreak in our community. Protecting yourself against the flu is not just about you—it’s also about your family and your community. The flu is highly contagious and statistics show people who get the flu can infect up to four people.”

As a leader in health care, Health First took the initiative to implement a mandatory flu vaccination policy for its associates this flu season. As a result, 99.9% of its over 7,500 member workforce either got the flu shot or received an approved religious, medical or non-clinical exemption. “Health First is proud of its bold decision to require associates to get a flu vaccine,” said Health First Vice President of Marketing & Communications Matthew Gerrell. “We at Health First know it was the right thing to do for the safety of our patients and our community. When a patient comes into a Health First facility, they don’t have a choice of who cares for them—it’s up to us as their trusted healthcare provider to offer the safest environment possible for our patients and their families.”

The Department of Health in Brevard County recommends everyone six months of age and older receive the flu vaccination each year. Please see a healthcare provider if you experience flu-like symptoms (including headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches).

About Health First
Founded in 1995, Health First is a fully integrated health system. The not-for-profit employs more than 7,500 people and has four hospitals (including Holmes Regional Medical Center, Palm Bay Hospital, Cape Canaveral Hospital and Viera Hospital). Health First Health Plans also offers a wide variety of health insurance plan options for Brevard and Indian River Counties. In addition, Health First is home to Brevard County’s only Trauma Center. Health First Medical Group is the largest multi-specialty physician group on the Space Coast. Health First offers numerous outpatient and wellness services, including four Pro-Health and Fitness Centers. Visit for more information.

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