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NBA and WNBA Help Teens Take Their Best Shot at Health With New Vaccines for Teens Educational Campaign

- NBA All-Star Grant Hill and Three-Time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie Urge Teens to Stay in the Game and Get Vaccinated -

NEW YORK, Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), in collaboration with the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM) and sanofi pasteur (the vaccines division of the sanofi-aventis Group), today announced the launch of Vaccines for Teens, a national multimedia campaign designed to educate teens and their parents about the importance of vaccination against serious, potentially life-threatening diseases.

Vaccines for Teens tipped off today at an event at Cordova Primary School in Phoenix, Arizona with Grant Hill, a seven-time NBA All-Star and member of the Phoenix Suns, who will serve as a spokesperson for the campaign. Hill, who will appear in the nationally broadcast public service announcement (PSA), was on hand for a special screening of the initiative's first PSA. The PSA will debut nationally during the Friday, February 27 broadcast of the Detroit Pistons vs. Orlando Magic game on ESPN at 7:00 pm EST.

Along with the PSA featuring Hill, a version featuring Los Angeles Sparks center Lisa Leslie will also air nationally while Detroit Pistons guard Richard Hamilton and NBA Legend and Hall of Famer George Gervin will appear in PSAs that will be distributed in Detroit and San Antonio areas respectively.

"Just like on the basketball court, when it comes to protecting teen health, the best offense is a good defense," said Grant Hill, national Vaccines for Teens spokesperson and Phoenix Suns guard. "Vaccination is an easy way to help teens grow into healthy adults, so our hope is that parents will speak with their child's health-care provider about immunization."

Teens are at risk for meningococcal disease, influenza, and whooping cough, which can spread from person to person during everyday activities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other leading medical groups recommend vaccination for preteens and teens against all three of these diseases.

"Although there are safe and effective vaccines available to help protect preteens and teens from these serious and contagious diseases, immunization rates still remain alarmingly low," said Dr. Richard Kreipe, President of SAM. "Clearly, educational programs are still critical, and Vaccines for Teens will utilize the widespread popularity of professional basketball to reach teens and their parents with these potentially life-saving messages."

Vaccines for Teens will roll out a series of additional initiatives as part of the campaign, including educational materials distributed through the league's Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program, and a newly launched Web site,, to educate teens and their parents and encourage them to discuss immunization with their health care providers.

"Vaccines for Teens is a great complement to NBA Cares and WNBA Cares, and our work with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes," said Kathy Behrens, NBA Executive Vice President, Social Responsibility & Player Programs.

About Vaccine-Preventable Adolescent Diseases

Immunization is critically important for adolescents because they are at risk for serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. Additionally, immunity from some childhood vaccines, such as whooping cough, may lessen over time, so teens who don't receive a booster vaccine may become vulnerable.

Meningococcal Disease / Meningococcal Meningitis

Meningococcal disease, including meningococcal meningitis, is a very serious disease that strikes between 1,000 to 2,600 people each year in the U.S., and can progress very quickly. The CDC recommends that all preteens and teens receive one meningococcal vaccine shot at 11 through 18 years of age.

Influenza, or the "Flu"

Influenza is a viral infection that can become serious enough to keep teens home from school, sports, and other activities. It can sometimes result in a visit to the hospital or lead to serious complications like pneumonia or even death. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months through 18 years of age receive an annual flu vaccination.

Pertussis, Commonly Called "Whooping Cough"

Pertussis is one of the most common respiratory diseases in American teens and adults and can be life-threatening if spread to infants. The CDC recommends a single dose of tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis (Tdap) vaccine for people 11 through 64 years of age.

About the Vaccines for Teens Campaign

The NBA and the WNBA are collaborating with the Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM) and sanofi pasteur on Vaccines for Teens, a national program designed to help educate parents and their teens about the importance of getting vaccinated.

About NBA Cares

NBA Cares is the league's social responsibility initiative that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this umbrella program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated more than $97 million to charity, provided more than 800,000 hours of hands-on service to communities around the world, and created more than 350 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.

About WNBA Cares

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women's health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education. For more information on the WNBA, log onto

About the Society for Adolescent Medicine

The Society for Adolescent Medicine (SAM) is the only multi-disciplinary organization of health professionals committed exclusively to advancing the health of adolescents world-wide. We enhance public and professional awareness of adolescent health issues through education, research, clinical services, and advocacy activities. SAM also promotes the training of professionals about the unique health needs of adolescents. SAM's members believe that pre-teens, teenagers and young adults receive the most effective care from professionals who have specialized training or experience in adolescent health issues. For more information on SAM, log onto


    NBA:                                 Jon Hammond
                                         (212) 407-8671

    Society for Adolescent Medicine:     Dr. Richard Kreipe
                                         (585) 275-7844

    Vaccines for Teens:                  Sarah Dumont
                                         (212) 886-2228

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