Contra Costa Partners with Health and Child Care Workers to "Stop the Spread" of Flu
Thursday, October 7, 2010
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The flu season is fast approaching and a local health department is taking a unique approach to stopping the spread of illness this year.
Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) has recruited health care workers and child care providers to help promote flu vaccination among their co-workers. The unique partnership has resulted in the "Five Minutes vs. Five Days: Stop the Spread" campaign and aims to significantly improve immunization levels among health and child care workers, while making them vaccination role models among the vulnerable populations that they work with every day.
Studies show that only about 50 percent of health care workers get the flu vaccine. This has to change and this partnership aims to do just that, says Dr. William Walker, County Health Officer and CCHS Director.
"Health care providers shouldn't be hypocrites. We have to practice what we preach. Getting vaccinated is the best protection against the flu so it is vital that those who care for the most vulnerable get the flu vaccine themselves," Dr. Walker said. "Our partnership with the Community Clinic Consortium and Contra Costa Child Care Council enlists some of the most influential players in the county to get the word out about this."
Based on input from child and health care employees, CCHS developed the campaign to make the point that it is easier to take a short break to get vaccinated than to risk being sick for five or more days. Fact sheets, myth busters, brochures, posters, podcasts, videos and presentations are all part of the comprehensive campaign to shift the targeted groups from reluctant participants to informed and passionate advocates. Trainings and outreach are underway.
CCHS also solicited staff physician Dr. Alan Siegel and his band to record a song urging health care workers to get a flu vaccination. The song, titled "Bad Case of Havin' the Flu" and based on Robert Palmer's "Bad Case Of Loving You," is available for download at www.cchealth.org/topics/flu/
Child care providers are an important partner in the effort, said Catherine Ertz-Berger, executive director of the Contra Costa Child Care Council.
"Every year we see the flu's impact firsthand—an ugly cycle of sick children, sick parents and seriously cramped work schedules," Ertz-Berger said. "It's our mission to care for young children, so we were happy to play a part in developing and promoting the tools and behaviors that can break that cycle, protect children and educate parents."
Based on a project funded last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the "Five Minutes vs. Five Days: Stop the Spread" campaign begins today and is scheduled to run throughout the flu season. For more information on flu vaccines or the campaign, visit the CCHS website at www.cchealth.org/topics/flu/five_minutes_five_days.php
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- Kate Fowlie