Governor Pat Quinn today rolled up his sleeve to receive his yearly flu shot and remind everyone in Illinois of the importance of this annual vaccination. The Governor's flu shot was administered by a pharmacist at the Walgreens flagship store in Chicago, where they announced a national immunizations campaign between Walgreens and the United Nations Foundation's Shot@Life. Under the partnership, now through October 14th for every flu shot or other vaccine administered at Walgreens or Healthcare Clinic at select Walgreens, the company will help provide a life-saving vaccine for a child in need in a developing country.
"I want to encourage everyone to go and get a flu shot, and then go tell their neighbors, family, and friends to get one, too," Governor Quinn said. "The Walgreens/Shot@Life collaboration can provide up to three million life-saving vaccines to children worldwide. Just go to Walgreens, get a shot, and help others stay safe from vaccine-preventable illnesses like the flu."
Shot@Life, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation supported by Walgreens, educates, connects and empowers Americans to help protect children in developing countries from vaccine-preventable diseases. By joining this movement, people can play an important role in helping to save a child's life by learning about, advocating for and donating vaccines to children who need them most.
"Through our involvement with Shot@Life and the UN Foundation we are empowering our patients to contribute life-saving vaccines to a child in a developing country," said Kermit Crawford, Walgreens president of pharmacy, health and wellness. "On a local level, through greater access to flu shots and other vaccines, we are providing access to convenient, affordable and preventive care in neighborhoods across Illinois and nationwide -- which is vital to our purpose to help people get, stay and live well."
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated for influenza every year.
"Last year, we saw high flu activity levels earlier than normal, so be proactive and get your influenza vaccination now," IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. "Governor Quinn is setting a great example today. Getting vaccinated is the single best way for you to protect not only yourself against flu, but your loved ones as well."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates more than 200,000 people in the United States are hospitalized each year and that there are potentially tens of thousands of flu-associated deaths annually. Approximately 800 people were reported with influenza in Illinois hospital ICUs last year and more than 130 deaths were reported.
Flu symptoms may include a fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, headache, body aches, exhaustion, chills and weakness. The influenza virus can be spread through coughing or sneezing or by touching objects carrying the virus, such as telephones and door knobs, and then touching their mouth or nose. Public health officials recommend that in addition to getting a flu shot, it is important to practice "the 3 Cs": Clean: properly wash your hands; Cover: cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze; and Contain: contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.
Young children, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions and the elderly are at a higher risk of complications from influenza. Side effects from influenza vaccination are typically mild; such as mild flu-like symptoms for a few days after vaccination or soreness at the injection site.