Health Department Promotes “Community Immunity” this Flu Season

September 20, 2011

The Fairfax County Health Department has launched a vaccine literacy initiative to educate residents about community immunity and the protection afforded to the entire community, especially the vulnerable, when a critical portion of the population is immunized against a disease. The initial focus of the campaign is on influenza vaccination, with the goal of increasing influenza vaccination rates in the Fairfax community. In order to reach community immunity in Fairfax, everyone who can receive flu vaccine must be vaccinated every year.

“Getting an annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu,” says Fairfax County Health Director Gloria Addo-Ayensu, M.D., M.P.H. “Even if people feel they are healthy and don’t need the vaccine, I’d urge them to get vaccinated because they not protect themselves and family, but others in the community as well.”

This campaign reinforces the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s universal recommendation that everyone over the age of 6 months receive an annual flu vaccine. It also educates the community about how community immunity protects the vulnerable people among us, such as those who are ineligible to receive the flu vaccine or are at greater risk of flu-related complications and death.

The health department has produced an educational video that explains how community immunity works, reminds viewers that flu vaccine is safe and effective, and encourages everyone to contribute to this important initiative by getting a flu vaccine as soon as vaccine becomes available each fall. Everyone is encouraged to visit the health department’s website,, to learn more about community immunity, view the video, and locate a nearby flu vaccination site.

In addition, the health department continues to remind residents about other important ways of preventing the flu such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands properly and frequently, and staying home from work or school when sick.

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