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NEW YORK -- Health and Human Services Secretary
Tommy G. Thompson and the Ad Council today announced a national public service
advertising (PSA) campaign designed to provide Americans with critical
information about flu vaccinations. The campaign asks Americans to "Give
Others a Shot" if they are not in a priority group for the flu and provides
simple tips to prevent the flu's spread.
This year, the Department's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) has stressed that flu shots need to go to those who are most vulnerable.
The priority groups for flu vaccinations are all children aged 6 to 23 months;
adults aged 65 and older; persons aged 2 to 64 with underlying chronic
conditions; all women who will be pregnant during the flu season; residents of
nursing homes and long-term care facilities; and children aged 6 months to 18
years on chronic aspirin therapy.
Thompson expressed appreciation to those Americans who have
forgone their flu shots in accordance with CDC guidelines. "It is in the best
traditions of this nation for Americans to help those who need it most. In
facing the challenges of this flu season, we must communicate clearly, quickly
and effectively with the public. I want to thank the Ad Council for helping
us achieve these goals by developing this innovative public service campaign."
According to Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of The Advertising Council, "It
is our hope that this critical campaign will provide the public with the
information they need to assess their flu risk and allow the vaccinations to
protect those that are most at risk."
Created pro bono by ad agency Merkley + Partners, the television, radio,
and Web PSAs encourage audiences to visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu or call CDC's
toll-free number, 1-800-CDC-INFO, to get more information on this year's flu
season and to see if they're at high risk for the flu. The PSAs also provide
practical steps to help prevent the spread of the flu, including:
* Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
* Keep your distance from others if you are sick.
* When possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are
sick, and don't send your children to child care or school if they are
* Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
* Clean your hands often.
"This campaign will help us achieve our overall goal, which is to make
sure that the flu vaccine we have available goes to the people who will most
benefit from vaccination," said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. "With the
help of the American public, we believe most of the people who are in the
priority groups will be able to get vaccinated. I thank the people across the
United States who are being health heroes by stepping aside so those who need
vaccine the most can get it."
Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs are being distributed up to 28,000
media outlets nationwide this week and will air and run in advertising time
that is donated by the media.
"Our agency has been involved in many important campaigns for the Ad
Council," said Sue Serenska, EVP/general manager, Merkley Healthworks. "Yet,
for this critical effort, we're thrilled to be part of the team, which will
hopefully save lives."
The Ad Council has been partnering with the U.S. Department of Health &
Human Services to develop PSA campaigns that address critical health issues
since the 1950s. Their successful collaborations have included public service
messages about the polio epidemic, drug abuse and more recently, obesity
The Department of Health and Human Services is the United States
government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans and
providing essential human services, especially for those who are least able to
help themselves. The department includes more than 300 programs, covering a
wide spectrum of activities, including medical and social science research,
preventing outbreak of infectious disease, including immunization services,
assuring food and drug safety, welfare, and Medicare and Medicaid.
Merkley + Partners is a leading full-service advertising agency. Founded in 1993, M+P has more than a half billion dollars in billings and more than 250 employees. Headquartered in New York City, clients include: BMW Motorcycles, Citigroup, Fila, Mercedes-Benz USA, Lipitor, SBC Communications and Smith Barney. M+P is a part of Omnicom Group Inc., a leading global marketing and communications company.
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history
of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to
deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally
thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the
day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive
change by raising awareness, inspiring action, and saving lives.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; The Ad