Credit: AP Photo / Jason DeCrow Legend: Ramona Cruz (right) accompanies her peers as they receive flu vaccinations.

“Los rostros de la gripe” campaign supports National Influenza Vaccination Week’s fight against the disease

  • The Caver Senior Center held a flu vaccination clinic for the Hispanic community of New York
  • National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 4 through December 10
  • All family members 6 months and older should be vaccinated annually against influenza

In support of NIVW, the Carver Senior Center teamed up with the American Lung Association’s Los rostros de la gripe (Faces of Influenza) campaign to host a flu clinic and encourage annual immunization for the Hispanic community.

Almost 70 seniors came to the Carver Senior Center, the Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly community center, to receive attention. More than 30 received a free flu shot.

New York City native, and “face” of influenza, Ramona Cruz, participated in the clinic to raise awareness within the Hispanic community about the importance of annual immunizations. Vaccination rates among the Latino community continue to be very low, leaving far too many unprotected.

Public health officials have declared December 4 through December 10 as National Influenza Vaccination Week to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination into the holiday season and beyond.

Cruz, a mother of 4, grandmother of 7 and great-grandmother of 5, always relied on home remedies passed on from her mother to keep healthy; until she contracted the virus and developed complications including chronic bronchitis, which would later develop into chronic asthma. Ramona now encourages her whole family to get vaccinated and she realizes that others need to be informed, so that they can do something to protect their families and themselves.

Alarming statistics

Hispanic Americans are hit particularly hard by influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 9.5 million Hispanic Americans will suffer from influenza in an average year, yet vaccination rates among this population are dangerously low.

Everyone is at risk for contracting and spreading the flu virus. However, Hispanics in particular are at high risk for complications from this disease due to a greater incidence of certain chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes. Despite the increased risk for complications, vaccination rates in the Latino community remain seriously low.

Flu vaccination is important for all members of the family, from grandparents to grandchildren.

The website  provides both consumers and health professionals with more information on inluenza and the importance of immunization.

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