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Highmark Supports National Influenza Vaccination Week
Date:1/10/2010

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning Sunday, Jan. 10 and continuing through the week, Highmark Inc. will join with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to promote National Influenza Vaccination Week.

Highmark will join other organizations across the country in a nationwide effort to remind individuals it's not too late to get their H1N1 vaccination.

The H1N1 flu is a serious disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between mid-April and Nov. 14, 2009, 47 million people in the United States were infected with the H1N1 flu, more than 200,000 people were hospitalized and more than 9,800 people died.

"Highmark is proud to join the nationwide effort to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated against H1N1," said Donald Fischer, M.D., Highmark's chief medical director. "There is a personal responsibility we share to do what we can to prevent the spread of the H1N1 influenza virus."

Although H1N1 flu activity has declined in recent weeks, it is expected to continue into January and beyond. There are three key actions individuals can take to prevent getting and spreading the flu including:

  • The first step is taking the time to get a H1N1 flu vaccine. Getting the flu vaccine is especially important for those at risk for developing serious flu complications including, children, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
  • The second step is practicing everyday preventive measures to avoid getting the flu. This includes covering the nose and mouth when sneezing, avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth as germs are passed this way and avoiding contact with people who are sick. While sick with the flu virus, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from spreading the virus.
  • The third and final step is to take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor recommends them. Antiviral drugs are prescription medicines that fight the flu by keeping viruses from reproducing in the body.

Several states will participate in a variety of activities to promote National Influenza Vaccination Week. These activities include public service announcements, press conferences, Webinars and roundtable discussions. For more information about National Influenza Vaccination Week and free resources that are available, go to http://www.cdc.gov/flu/NIVW/index.htm.

About Highmark Inc.

As one of the leading health insurers in Pennsylvania, Highmark Inc.'s mission is to provide access to affordable, quality health care enabling individuals to live longer, healthier lives. Based in Pittsburgh, Highmark serves 4.8 million people through the company's health care benefits business. Highmark contributes millions of dollars to help keep quality health care programs affordable and to support community-based programs that work to improve people's health. Highmark exerts an enormous economic impact throughout Pennsylvania. A recent study states that Highmark's positive impact exceeded $2.5 billion. The company provides the resources to give its members a greater hand in their health.

Highmark Inc. is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans. For more information, visit www.highmark.com.

SOURCE Highmark Inc.

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