2013-10-24 / Sports

Officials urging flu, pheunomia vaccines

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Community Health, along with the Michigan Osteopathic Association and Michigan State Medical Society, are urging all Michigan residents to get vaccinated against influenza and pneumococcal diseases, both of which can be life-threatening.

“We know that in order to create communities with the highest levels of protection, we need to partner with providers, health systems, local organizations, and statewide professional groups such as Michigan State Medical Society and Michigan Osteopathic Association to reach as many residents as possible,” said Dr. Matthew Davis, Chief Medical Executive with the MDCH. “As physicians, we can do a better job of making sure our residents are up to date on their vaccines and as residents, parents, and community members, we all can do a better job of protecting ourselves and those we love.”

Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, but some people are at greater risk for disease than others. Being a certain age or having some medical conditions can put you at increased risk for pneumococcal disease. Those who are at an increased risk due to age include children less than two years of age and adults 65 years of age and older. Other medical conditions, such as chronic illnesses, weakened immune systems, and cochlear implants or cerebrospinal fluid leaks contribute to increased risk for pneumococcal disease. Adults who smoke or have asthma are also at greater risk.

“Influenza can be very serious and sometimes even fatal in people who are otherwise healthy,” said MSMS President Kenneth Elmassian, D.O. “Physicians and other health care professionals have a responsibility to immunize themselves to protect not only their patients, but also the people their patients come in contact with. Oftentimes, the patients we see are already ill, so to put them in harm’s way by not getting ourselves vaccinated is unacceptable. I strongly urge every health care professional – whether you’re a physician, a nurse or even if you work in billing or maintenance – to get vaccinated today.”

Influenza is also a life-threatening disease, especially for infants and the elderly. In Michigan there were seven influenza-associated pediatric deaths during the 2012- 13 influenza season. About half of the pediatric deaths in 2012-13 were previously healthy children who had no risk factors for severe disease.

“Vaccination saves the lives of more than three million people worldwide each year and prevents millions of others from developing diseases and permanent disabilities,” says Myral Robbins, D.O., and President-elect with the MOA.

MDCH, MOA, and MSMS are urging Michigan families to talk to their health care provider today about the vaccines they need for themselves and their family. Michigan health care providers are encouraged to never miss an opportunity to vaccinate and to strongly recommend vaccines to patients of all ages.

To find a vaccine near you, visit http://vaccine.healthmap.org/. For more information about vaccinations in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/immunize and www.michigan.gov/flu.

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