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Northwest Health Advocate Presses Flu Vaccine

Ray Bridgewater Stresses the Importance of Receiving Vaccination

Stacy M. Brown | 1/8/2014, 3 p.m.
It only takes 10 seconds and the subtle stick of a small needle and most of the myths surrounding the ...
Radio personality April Watts receives a flu shot while another doctor discusses the benefit of the vaccine. Watts got her vaccination at Laurel Regional Hospital on Oct. 25. Photo by Shevry Lassiter

Rev. George Young, Heart for God Community Church in Clinton, Md., said he regularly receives the vaccine and he strongly encourages others to do so as well.

“I've been getting flu shots for a while now, one of my evangelists doesn't trust the shot which is representative of a large portion of [minorities],” Young said.

“Then, some just don't like needles, so to voluntarily take one; it's not going to happen. But, it works and I'm a witness to it because I haven't had the flu, and I tell people to come talk to me once they get the shot and tell me about it."

Officials at the CDC said, over a 30 year period between 1976 and 2006, estimates of yearly flu-associated deaths in the United States ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people during the most severe season.

CDC officials recommend an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months and older. The vaccines are available to infants as a nasal spray, officials said.

The shots available this year include one that protects against three flu viruses, another shot that protects against four viruses, an intradermal flu shot for those 18 to 64 years of age, and a high-dosage flu shot for individuals 65 and older.

“The most important thing is that you get vaccinated, not necessarily which vaccine you get,” Schuchat said.

For minorities, Bridgewater said socio-economic indicators show African Americans, particularly in Ward 8, as having major health challenges and high death rates.

While progress has been made, Bridgewater said he and others will continue to press for everyone to be conscious of their health needs and to get the flu shot.

“Influenza is among the top 10 causes of death in a population where certain long-term medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological conditions, obesity, HIV or AIDS, and cancer, just to name a few, have become the norm,” Bridgewater said.

“We will continue to work collaboratively to change current health conditions that plague our community. This campaign is the first of its kind, and the time is now for such an initiative.

For more information about the flu shot, visit www.cdc.gov/flu/partners/disparities.htm