DFWHC participates in campaign to promote flu vaccinations


By December, many Texans may feel it’s too late for a flu vaccine. But the approaching winter months serve as the peak season for the flu in Texas. As part of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) from December 8–14, the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council (DFWHC) is partnering with Walgreens, Texas pharmacists and legislators to make a push towards educating North Texas residents on the importance of receiving the flu vaccination. Information about Vaccinate Texas can be found at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize/.


“We’re hoping to target Texas residents and workers,” said W. Stephen Love, president/CEO of DFWHC. “We hope to communicate an ‘It’s not too late’ message in an effort to increase flu vaccinations and thus, lowering the numbers of patients at our member hospitals. Getting vaccinated is the best way for people to protect themselves—and others—from contracting this serious, contagious illness.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all Americans age six months and older receive a flu vaccination every year. While vaccination offers the best protection against the flu, only about 4 in 10 Texans (41 percent) age six months and older obtain the vaccine, according to the Trust for America’s Health.

The Texas campaign mirrors a flu shot program promoted by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) in 2012, dramatically increasing flu shot vaccinations while lowering patient numbers. CDPH implemented activities focused on increasing demand for influenza vaccines by disseminating a unified message and marketing identity through media, social media and healthcare provider educational campaigns.

Texas vaccine access has expanded through legislation allowing pharmacists to give flu shots to adults and children age seven and older. Most pharmacies and local health departments have a supply of the vaccine on hand. In addition, many organizations, including churches and community centers, offer walk-in immunization clinics at specific dates and times.

An estimated one in five Americans will get the flu this year. In addition, an estimated 3,000 – 49,000 individuals will die from a flu-related illness and more than 200,000 people will be hospitalized.

“The flu costs more than $10 billion in direct medical expenses and $16 billion in lost earnings,” Love said. “Through the work of many of the groups involved with this effort and the State Legislature, it’s easier and more affordable to get your flu shot today.”

Additional organizations participating include the Dallas County Health and Human Services, the Dallas/Fort Worth Business Group on Health, the University of North Texas College of Pharmacy, the American Heart Association and the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.