Tis the season for going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house for Christmas. This means a lot of travel on planes, trains & automobiles and higher exposure to @the_swine_flu.

African-Americans are disproportionately suffering from the virus, are more likely than other groups to die from the virus and yet there is a lower rate of vaccinations within the African-American community. This sets up a dangerous situation and one we must address now. Supply has been boosted and everyone should be able to get the shot. The Prez just got the vaccine on Sunday (photo above). The First Lady got vaccinated last week and their girls got the shot in October. I’ve had the swine flu and believe me — that is one mean-ass piggy that you do not want in your house or in your body. Swine flu is the dominant flu in the nation right now – if you’re having flu-like symptoms, there’s a good chance you’ve got it.

Barack Obama has said regarding the H1N1 vaccine:

“…this flu, unlike seasonal flu, disproportionately affects children and young people — healthy children and young people as well as people with underlying conditions like asthma or neurological diseases. So it is so important and, frankly, the African American vaccination rate has been lower, substantially lower so far than the general population,” he said. “I think people just need to understand: If I had the two people that are most important in my life, my two daughters, get it right away — and they’ve been just fine with it and in fact haven’t gotten sick this entire flu season — then you need to know that you need to make sure your children get it as well.”

I recently wrote a post about the H1N1 virus and how it’s hitting African-Americans especially hard. It caught the attention of both the White House and the State of California.

Corey Ealons, Director of White House African-American Media, suggests that if you’re looking to keep your family healthy this year, you might want to check out Flu.Gov, the gubment’s flu facts website:

There is a self diagnostic tool there as well as a section concerning myths about H1N1.

Here’s how you can diagnose yourself or a family member, courtesy of Flu.Gov:

In the comments in my original post, folks asked a lot about the shortages of the vaccine. Seems like that’s easing a bit. If you are taking some time off for the holidays, this might be a good time to go. Here’s a flu vaccine locator widget you can use:

Here’s important info on taking care of someone who gets sick with the flu (hopefully not during the holidays!) so it doesn’t spread to the whole family and you can also sign up for mobile alerts on the flu from the CDC.

We also heard from Melinda Beers of the CA Dept of Health who sent me this email mentioning Flu.Gov and offering some additional resources for Californians:

My name is Melinda Beer and I work for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). I caught your post about H1N1 and African-Americans and wanted to thank you for helping spread the word about the importance of caring for yourself to prevent the spread of H1N1. We know that it has been trying for many communities to find vaccine supplies and we encourage you to visit our Web site at www.cdph.ca.gov/, where you can find more information on the availability of H1N1 vaccines throughout the state of California and you can also link to the Flu.gov Vaccine Locator Tool, which gives you a map of vaccine availability anywhere in the nation. The Web site also has a number of helpful tips for preventing the spread of H1N1 during the holidays. And if you have any questions for yourself or your readers that the site cannot answer, please feel free to drop me an e-mail personally and I would be happy to direct you toward the proper information.



You can contact Melinda if you are a CA resident at: melinda.beer@cdph.ca.gov

Note that CDPH is closed the first, second and third Friday of each month. (Probably due to budget cuts I’m guessing…)

Please do me a favor — share this post with your friends and family. Give the gift of good health to those you care about the most. We must spread the word faster than H1N1 spreads among us.

Thanks for your help.
Stay safe & be well this holiday season — from your friends at JJP.

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