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December 10, 2012
Kathleen Paice 315 464-4839

Upstate to provide flu shots at Salvation Army Christmas Bureau registration Dec. 10 to 14

Upstate Golisano Childrens Hospital have provided 400 free flu shots this week to parents and children who stopped by Nicholas J. Pirro Convention Center in downtown Syracuse to register for the Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Bureau.  Families who register through Friday, Dec. 14 are eligible to receive the free vaccination.

The effort, led by infectious disease specialists Manika Suryadevara, MD, and Joseph Domachowske, MD, is part of a program designed to study the publics understanding of influenza, influenza vaccine and vaccine safety. The program also provided education to participating families about the flu vaccine.

“People who do not want to get the flu vaccine really have some misconceptions about the vaccine,” Suryadevara told reporters who covered the flu shot giveaway. ” I feel it’s really important that we educate everybody about the benefits of the vaccine.”

This flu shot program is a joint effort between Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and the Salvation Army; it is funded in part by a Novartis Vaccine and Diagnostics educational grant.

In a similar program last year, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital provided flu vaccinations during the Christmas Bureau registration to 460 people, from ages 6 months to 94.

Health officials are becoming increasingly alarmed with the growing number of flu cases already diagnosed in Central New York. As of Dec. 8, Onondaga County reported 365 confirmed cases of the flu, and the state health department has characterized flu activity as “widespread” in its Dec. 1 flu report.

Caption: Manika Suryadevara, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist, gives the flu shot to Donna Schinnen of Syracuse during the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau registration at the Oncenter.

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