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Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan Encourages Arizonans to Get Vaccinated Against Influenza

Khan Joins the American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza Program to

Urge Immunization throughout the Season

PHOENIX, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- In Maricopa County alone, an average of up 20% of the population, or 757,000 people, are estimated to suffer from influenza this season. Although more than two-thirds of Americans are recommended for annual vaccination, immunization rates fall short every year, leaving many unprotected and at risk for serious illness. In fact, only about 20% of adults in Arizona are vaccinated annually.*

Phoenix Fire Chief Bob Khan has joined the American Lung Association as a local spokesperson for the Faces of Influenza initiative. The program is aimed to put a "face" on influenza and help Arizonans see firsthand the need for annual vaccination, which is beneficial throughout the fall and winter months.

To demonstrate his support of the program, Chief Khan participated today in a press conference with Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon at Phoenix City Hall. During the conference, Chief Khan and Mayor Gordon, along with Karen Lewis, M.D. of the Arizona Department of Health Services, Bob England, M.D. of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and Nancy Cohrs with the American Lung Association of Arizona, reinforced the seriousness of influenza and the importance of annual vaccination through November, December and beyond in Arizona. Mayor Gordon and Chief Khan further demonstrated their commitment by receiving an influenza vaccination during the event.

"If an influenza epidemic incapacitated our first responders, the Valley would suffer tremendously," says Chief Khan. "Not only is it important for our firefighters to receive their influenza vaccinations, but it's imperative for those at risk or anyone who comes in contact with them to be vaccinated."

The Faces of Influenza Portrait Gallery, a cornerstone to the program, was unveiled after the press conference. The Gallery is an exhibition of dramatic black-and-white portraits and compelling personal stories of famous and not-so-famous people, who fall into one or more of the groups recommended for immunization. Chief Khan is included in the Portrait Gallery, which will remain on display for public viewing at Phoenix City Hall through December 5.

Chief Khan considers influenza prevention through annual immunization a life-saving health habit. As health-care providers, it is critical that Khan's team of 2,000 firefighters protect themselves, as well as those they come in contact with, from transmitting this potentially deadly disease. He encourages his crew as well as Valley residents to get immunized.

Approximately 36,000 Americans die and about 226,000 are hospitalized due to influenza and its complications nationwide every year. The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign is a multi-year public awareness initiative designed to help Americans see themselves as a "face" of influenza and recognize annual influenza immunization as a safe and effective measure to protect themselves and their loved ones from the potentially life threatening disease.

These "faces" include people who fall into one or more of the high-risk groups recommended for annual immunization by the CDC. In addition to health care workers, high-risk groups are adults and children with chronic medical conditions, people 50 years of age or older, children 6-59 months of age, pregnant women as well as anyone in contact with someone in a high-risk group. The CDC recommends that anyone who wishes to prevent the spread of influenza should receive a vaccination.

Faces of Influenza Awareness Activities

The Faces of Influenza initiative will conduct widespread awareness activities during the influenza season, including national distribution of new television and radio public service announcements featuring national spokesperson Jennifer Garner.

In addition, the campaign features a photo gallery of dramatic black-and-white portraits and personal stories featuring celebrities and everyday Americans who fall into one or more of the groups the CDC recommends for annual influenza vaccination. Comprehensive grassroots activities are also underway in six local American Lung Association regions: Detroit, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Seattle, Houston and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

Celebrities who have joined Garner for the Faces of Influenza awareness initiative include: actor Dean Cain, who played Superman on ABC's Lois and Clark; Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi; WNBA basketball star Sheryl Swoopes; Dr. Joyce Brothers, well-known psychologist and advice columnist; Joy Behar, comedian and co-host of ABC's The View; Olympic Gold Medalist Vonetta Flowers; and actor Peter Gallagher.

For more information

For more information about Faces of Influenza, visit This educational site provides consumers and health-care providers with more information about influenza and the importance of immunization. Visitors to the site can also view the photographs and stories featured in the Faces of Influenza Portrait Gallery, view the public service campaign, and utilize the Lung Association's Flu Clinic Locator, the largest on-line directory of public influenza clinics.

About the American Lung Association

Beginning a second century, the American Lung Association (ALA) is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The ALA funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the ALA is "Improving life, one breath at a time." For more information about the ALA or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA or log onto

The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza educational initiative is made possible through a collaboration with sanofi pasteur.

* According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccination coverage rates for high risk adults 18-49 years of age (as of the 2005-2006 influenza season).

SOURCE American Lung Association
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