Families Fighting Flu
Families Fighting Flu (FFF) is a national, nonprofit organization comprised mainly of families who have either lost a child to the flu or whose child became seriously ill due to the disease. FFF is committed to raising awareness about the risks of influenza and the importance of annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months of age and older. Members share firsthand perspectives on their own devastating losses, retelling their stories in the hopes that the organization can help prevent others from experiencing such tragedy.
In response to feedback received from its membership, FFF held two free webinars during the fall of 2012 to educate about flu prevention for the entire family. Both webinars were well-attended with nearly 200 participants, including parents, local/state health agency workers, and FFF members, from across the country. And for those who were unable to join the webinars live, FFF has archived recordings available on its website (www.familiesfightingflu.org/multimedia/#webinars).
The first webinar, “New Information to Protect Yourself & Your Family from the Flu this Season” which was held on October 2, featured Dr. William Shaffner, immediate past-president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID), who shared new information from NFID’s Influenza/Pneumococcal News Conference to help families prepare for the upcoming flu season. Webinar participants learned about vaccination rates across the country, how the flu is contracted and the recommended flu vaccination schedule for children. FFF board member, Jennifer Lastinger who tragically lost her three year old daughter, Emily, to the flu also shared her personal story.
On November 29, the second webinar, “Flu Season is Here ─ Learn How to Keep You, Your Baby & Family Healthy,” was held to educate moms and moms-to-be about the importance of protecting themselves and their families against flu. Dr. Kevin Ault, medical advisor of FFF and a professor in the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine, shared critical information about the benefits of flu vaccination with a focus on pregnant women, new moms, and young children. FFF board member, Julie Moise shared her story about the heartbreaking loss of her son, Ian, to the flu when he was only six and a half months old.
Both webinars included a Question and Answer session, and a survey was disseminated after each to capture feedback and key learnings for future FFF educational initiatives. Overall, the feedback received was very positive with one participant noting that Julie’s story “drives home how serious the flu really is.” Additionally, FFF issued a call-to-action to participants to post on Facebook or Twitter during National Influenza Vaccination Week about the importance of annual flu vaccination. Valuable support was provided by many partner organizations, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit, Text4Baby, the Immunization Action Coalition, National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, and the Florida Department of Health/Immunization Program, to disseminate information about the webinars through their communications channels. Increased awareness about the webinars certainly helped FFF reach a larger audience with this critical messaging about the importance of flu prevention – a major success for this program!
For more information about FFF or to watch the webinars, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org. If you are interested in learning more about FFF or partnering with the organization on current or future initiatives, please contact Laura Scott, executive director, email@example.com.