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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: October 5, 2012

DID YOU "Get It?"

Governor Jack Markell and Lt. Governor Matthew Denn received their annual influenza vaccines October 5, 2012 at a public flu clinic at the New Castle Farmer's Market near Route 273. They were joined by Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Landgraf and Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Director Dr. Karyl Rattay.

"Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot," Governor Markell said. "A vaccinated population is a healthy population. Please help your families, friends, schools, worksites and neighborhoods by getting a flu shot. By getting a flu shot, you are doing your part to save lives and stop the spread of flu in Delaware."

The flu clinic, sponsored by DPH, launched preparations for the 2012-2013 flu season and unveiled the "Get It" outreach campaign. The message of the Get It campaign is that everyone is impacted by the flu but the outreach targets healthy 19 - 49 year olds. The reason for targeting that age group is they are less likely to get the flu vaccine and yet can be among the most likely to transmit the disease. In addition, children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with underlying medical conditions are often targeted through other outlets and can be more likely to receive the message about the importance of flu vaccination.

As part of the Get It campaign, DPH has scheduled several public health vaccination clinics statewide. (See for the complete clinic schedule.) The vaccinations are free but donations and Medicaid will be accepted. Public Health is offering the intramuscular flu vaccine for ages 9 years and above, and the nasal FluMist for ages 9 years to 49 years. Opportunities are offered for younger children, too, and - it's important to note - that children aged 6 months to 8 years who receive the flu vaccine for the first time need two doses.

"Each year, influenza kills about 36,000 people in the United States," said DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf. "Even in Delaware with our relatively small population, we had 11 Delawareans hospitalized last flu season; a third of whom were 4 years of age or younger. Fortunately, we had no deaths last year but the flu can be as deadly as it is unpredictable. The flu vaccine prevents influenza and its potentially fatal complications."

Added Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH Director, "Getting the flu vaccine is easier than ever before. DPH recommends that Delawareans first seek flu vaccine from their doctors. Those who do not have a doctor, cannot pay for the vaccine because they are uninsured, or have insurance that does not cover the vaccine, may be vaccinated at Public Health clinics. Flu vaccines are also available through most area pharmacies and grocery stores."

DPH also operated the clinic as a timed emergency preparedness drill in the event of a large scale health emergency. The state employees, assisted by four members of the Delaware Emergency Medical Reserve Corps, are being evaluated on their ability to quickly and easily administer the flu vaccine to large numbers in a mobile setting.

The press event provided the opportunity to honor five local health providers in attendance for assisting with flu surveillance last flu season. These medical personnel comprise the Influenza Sentinel Providers Surveillance Network which collaborates with the Delaware Public Health Laboratory, the Delaware Immunization Program, and the CDC. Sentinel providers volunteer their time and effort to provide DPH and the CDC with critical data about flu cases in the community. They represent medical providers such as family practices, internal medicine, pediatrics, infectious diseases, child care centers, hospitals, long term care facilities, correctional institutions, and educational facilities.

The in-person award recipients were:
1.Westside Family Healthcare at five sites: Bear, Newark, Wilmington, Northeast Wilmington, and Dover.
2.Exceptional Care for Children.
3.Millcroft Nursing Home.
4.Broadmeadow Healthcare.
5.The Governor Bacon Health Center of Delaware City.

Additional awardees included:

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.