|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2007
Central Brooklyn Residents with High Pneumonia Death Rates Urged to Get Flu Shots
New York City - The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) today announced a public service campaign to get more Central Brooklyn residents of Caribbean- and African-American descent to get flu shots to help reduce the high rates of flu and pneumonia deaths in that community.
A recent report by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOH) found that less than 40 percent of Central Brooklyn residents who are 65 and older get vaccinated each year and death rates from the flu and pneumonia are 30 percent higher in Central Brooklyn than in the rest of the borough. The report also found skepticism about the vaccine and a mistrust of medical care are widespread in the Central Brooklyn senior community. Half of residents 50 and older believe that the flu vaccine can cause the flu rather than prevent it. Many community residents report preferring home remedies or their own cultural practices as ways to stay healthy.
“I’m from Trinidad, so I understand the concern many Caribbeans have about flu shots. As a registered nurse, I know that the flu shot is safe and effective. I get one every year and never get ill because of it,” said Jean Leon, Executive Director of Kings County Hospital Center and Senior Vice President of the Central Brooklyn Health Network. “Folks over 50 in our community are at very high-risk of developing influenza or pneumonia because they fear or avoid getting an annual flu shot. But a flu shot can save your life.”
The HHC campaign features a radio public service message from Ms. Leon and print public service ads that will be distributed to target Caribbean community radio stations and local newspapers. The awareness effort also includes postcards that will be mailed to more than 14,000 households in the Central Brooklyn area. Recipients are invited to bring the postcard to Kings County Hospital Center to receive a free flu vaccine and a free roundtrip transit card.
Samples of the print ads and postcard are attached. The NYC DOH Report, Flu Shots Save Lives: Why Aren’t More Central Brooklyn Residents Getting Vaccinated?, is available at www.nyc.gov/health/dpho.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $4.9 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based clinics. For more information about HHC, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.
Sample Newspaper Ad
Sample Post Card