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Faith and Communities Help Spread the Word on the Seasonal Flu Vaccine

Summary: 
Alexia Kelley, director of our faith-based office at HHS, describes how faith-based and community organizations are helping get out the word that every person 6 months and older should get the seasonal flu vaccine.

This week, our Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships  at HHS is promoting National Influenza Vaccination Week (“Flu Vaccine Week”) with coordinated events around the country and the release of two new Fight the Flu Resources for our faith and community-based partners.

For the first time ever, the CDC has recommended that every person 6 months and older should get the seasonal flu vaccine. To highlight the importance and safety of flu vaccination, key HHS officials spoke at diverse array of congregations and community organizations over the weekend. 

Leading the launch of Flu Vaccine Week, Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin spoke at the Potter’s House in Dallas, TX , pastored by Bishop TD Jakes.  Speaking to the congregation, the Surgeon General thanked the congregation for their tremendous community health outreach and emphasized that need for individuals and families to get the flu shot. 

Flu vaccine week picture

Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health Dr. Garth Graham help launch Flu Vaccine Week at Bishop TD Jakes’ The Potter’s House.

The HHS Partnership Center also developed two new resources to support the efforts of community and faith-based organizations to fight flu this flu season.  Faith and community leaders and members are critical partners in flu prevention. As trusted leaders and messengers, you can make sure that everyone in your community knows that an annual flu shot is the best protection against the flu—and that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated.  The two new resources are:

• A Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Guide for Community & Faith-based Organizations & Leaders is an accessible, easy-to-read guide is written for faith and community-based leaders and organizations.  The guide includes basic flu facts, everyday prevention steps, and how leaders can link folks to vaccination;

• Faith and Communities Fight Flu! is a one-page flyer that highlights five key community flu fighting steps.  It can be posted on community announcement boards or in a weekly bulletin. We are encouraging faith-based and community leaders to post this flyer throughout the seasonal flu season.

And if you are reading this and have not gotten your flu shot yet, the flu vaccine locator on Flu.gov can help you find out where you can get your flu shot in your area! 

Alexia Kelley is the Director of the Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (The Partnership Center) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.