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Actress and Mother Jennifer Garner Kicks Off American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza Awareness Campaign, Encouraging Families to Get Vaccinated Against Influenza
Date:11/12/2007

NEW YORK, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Actress Jennifer Garner joined leading medical officials at a press conference today to kick off the American Lung Association's national Faces of Influenza public awareness campaign, urging Americans to get their annual influenza vaccination. The program is designed to help Americans put a "face" on this serious disease and recognize annual immunization as a safe and effective way to protect themselves and their families against influenza. The American Lung Association also hosted a free influenza immunization clinic, where hundreds of New Yorkers were vaccinated.

The American Lung Association's Faces of Influenza campaign aims to reach the more than two out of every three Americans recommended for annual influenza immunization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On average, approximately 36,000 people die and about 226,000 are hospitalized due to influenza and its complications in the US every year. Garner's involvement will especially help reach women who are often the health-care decision makers for their families.

"Women play an important role in a family. It's our job to take care of those we love, that's why I make sure my family is protected against influenza," said Garner. "Influenza isn't just a cold. It can be much more serious. Chances are you or someone you know should be immunized."

Garner is working with the American Lung Association to encourage vaccination against influenza throughout the fall and winter months and to put a national "face" on the eighth leading cause of death when combined with pneumonia. As a mother of a young child, Garner is one of the more than 220 million "faces" that health officials recommend be vaccinated this and every year.

"Despite serious health risks associated with influenza, many people, including people with chronic health problems, young children and those 50 years and older, are not getting immunized," said Norman Edelman, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association. "The American Lung Association is pleased that Jennifer Garner has joined us to encourage people to seek influenza immunization for themselves and their families and to encourage vaccination throughout the fall and winter months, and even into the spring to help ensure they are protected."

Garner was joined today by numerous health officials and other Faces of Influenza, including: Bernadette Toomey (American Lung Association's Chief Executive Officer), Norman Edelman, MD (American Lung Association's Chief Medical Officer), actor and father Dean Cain, Anne Schuchat, MD (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Richard and Alissa Kanowitz (who lost their 4-year-old daughter Amanda to influenza), Tyra Bryant-Stephens, MD (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), Luis Rodriguez, MD (Mount Sinai Services, Elmhurst Hospital Center), nurse Lori Diaz (Clinical Nurse Supervisor for the Suffolk County Department of Health in New York), as well as state and local public health officials.

About Influenza

Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that, along with its complications, kills an average of 36,000 Americans and puts approximately 226,000 in the hospital each year. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccination for anyone wishing to reduce the risk of this disease or spreading it to others. Other target groups include: adults and children with a chronic medical condition, such as asthma, COPD and diabetes, people 50 years of age and older, pregnant women and children 6-59 months of age, residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities, as well as household contacts and caregivers which includes health-care providers, babysitters and others.

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 Jennifer Garner.

In addition, the campaign features a photo exhibition of dramatic black- and-white portraits and personal stories featuring celebrities and everyday Americans who fall into one or more of the groups CDC recommends for annual influenza vaccination. Comprehensive grassroots activities are also planned 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 and attended the campaign's launch event; 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.

Visitors to the Web site, http://www.facesofinfluenza.org, can view the photographs and stories featured in the Faces of Influenza Portrait Gallery, and learn more about influenza and how to prevent the spread of this serious virus through vaccination. The site offers reporters, consumers and health- care providers various educational materials about influenza and the importance of immunization.

American Lung Association Flu Clinic Locator Now Available Online

The American Lung Association continues to offer its online Flu Clinic Locator as a public service. By typing in their 5-digit zip code, site visitors can receive a list of immunization clinics in their area. Site visitors may also schedule reminders and sign up to receive seasonal influenza news. The Flu Clinic Locator will remain active as long as public influenza immunization clinics are offered. The Flu Clinic Locator can be accessed via http://www.facesofinfluenza.org, http://www.flucliniclocator.org and http://www.lungusa.org.

About the American Lung Association

Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while rates of other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is "Improving life, one breath at a time."

For more information about the Faces of Influenza educational initiative, visit http://www.facesofinfluenza.org. For information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586- 4872) or log on to http://www.lungusa.org.

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

Contact: Dimara Almeida

212-886-2240

dalmeida@cooneywaters.com


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SOURCE American Lung Association
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