We all have a community responsibility to ensure we’re keeping ourselves, our children, our seniors and those with compromised immune systems protected from disease. Vaccines accomplish this all at once. Unfortunately, on any given day, about one-third of Nevada’s children and the majority of adults are missing crucial vaccines. Immunize Nevada’s mission is to change that and to ensure that people across Nevada can access vaccines, health care and other resources they need to stay healthy.
In 1995, the Washoe County Coalition for Childhood Immunizations arose out of concern about Nevada’s historically low immunization rates. Now, Immunize Nevada is a statewide 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition that collaborates with key partners to improve the health of all Nevadans in our urban, rural and frontier areas by increasing vaccination rates and providing access to preventive health services.
Our community outreach and Team Vaccine volunteers serve thousands of Nevadans each month at clinics, events, schools and health fairs throughout the state. Immunize Nevada’s collaborative approach also includes no-cost continuing education opportunities for healthcare professionals – coordinating a cohesive approach to immunization information and access across the healthcare industry.
However our work is not done. Every day people ask Immunize Nevada for help, babies are born needing to be protected, employees new to Nevada need access to resources, and health care workers need continuing education. Our programs serve over 18,000 infants, school-age children, adults and seniors in need each year, as well as over 1,000 health-care professionals.
As we are in the holiday season, it’s important to remember that as you are out shopping, celebrating or enjoying family time, it is almost impossible not to come in contact with germs and viruses that can make us sick. However, getting sick from the flu can be easily prevented by getting vaccinated.
Last flu season alone, 146 children died from flu-related deaths from 40 states; that number is typically closer to 100. Eight of those children were in Nevada. In addition to the human cost, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that up to 111 million workdays are lost every year because of the flu (influenza) at an estimated $16 billion per year in sick days and lost productivity.
The flu vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect yourself, your family and the whole community. Last season’s flu outbreak occurred right after the holidays, so this is an ideal time to get vaccinated if you haven’t yet. Here are some key facts you should know about the flu vaccine:
Seasonal flu vaccines are the best protection against the flu.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year.
Flu vaccines are safe, easy and affordable.
If you have health insurance, check with your insurance provider. You may be able to get a flu vaccine at your local pharmacy or at your health care provider’s office.
It’s especially important to get the vaccine if you or someone you care for is at risk of complications from the flu.
Your vaccine doesn’t just protect you, it protects those you love too.
We encourage you to try your best not to get or give the gift of the flu this year! Instead, consider giving the gift of health this holiday season by getting vaccinated, donating to or volunteering with Immunize Nevada. Each gift protects health and prevents disease in our most vulnerable populations throughout Nevada’s communities.
To find out about how you, your business or organization can get involved with Immunize Nevada’s efforts to promote health and prevent disease, please call 775-624-7117, visit immunizenevada.org/donate or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Story by Lynnette Bellin Director of Strategic Communications & Marketing for Immunize Nevada.