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Advertising effort for vaccinations to begin in August

August 07, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Washington County Health Department plans to soon begin an advertising campaign urging seniors to get vaccinated against pneumococcal disease, the sixth leading cause of death in Washington County, health department spokesman Rod MacRae said Thursday.

The Health Department, working with the Walnut Street Health Center, has received a $2,000 grant from the Maryland Partnership for Prevention, a state government agency, to be used for advertising that would encourage people older than 65 to get the vaccine, he said.

Some of the advertising will be on billboards, while others will be on the outside of County Commuter buses, MacRae said.

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The "Adults Need Vaccines Too!" campaign is scheduled to start the third week of August, he said.

The Health Department offers countywide influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations each fall, from October to December.

But while vaccinations are offered for both, most only get the flu vaccine, MacRae said. Last year 6,500 people got the flu vaccine, compared to 548 getting the pneumococcal vaccine, he said.

As a result of the advertising campaign, he is hoping more people will get the pneumococcal vaccine this year, MacRae said.

The symptoms for pneumococcal disease are the same as those of pneumonia, but people should not wait to have symptoms for either before getting the vaccines, he said.

In addition to people older than 65, others urged to get the vaccine include those older than 2 with long-term health problems, including heart disease, lung disease and kidney failure.

The six leading causes of death in Washington County are heart attacks, cancer, stroke, lung disease, diabetes and influenza/pneumonia/pneumococcal, MacRae said.

Starting this month, people will need to make appointments by phone to get vaccinations at the Health Department, MacRae said. They should call the Health Department at 240-313-3210, he said.

However, no appointments are necessary for flu shot clinics at sites outside the Health Department, MacRae said.

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