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October 23, 2020

Media Contact:

Deidre McCabe, Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-3536

Charlie Gischlar, Deputy Director, Media Relations, 443-463-7234

Maryland Department of Health kicks off #FightFlu Friday campaign urging Marylanders to get their flu shots

New digital and social media emphasizes the importance of getting a flu shot during the COVID-19 pandemic

Baltimore, MD – The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) today released new digital and social media to support #FightFlu Fridays, an extension of its “Fight the Flu” campaign. The campaign, which initially launched on Oct. 13, encourages all Marylanders to become “flu fighters” and to get their flu shots as soon as possible, especially while COVID-19 remains a threat.

"It has never been more important to get a flu vaccine,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “The First Lady and I have already gotten our flu shots, and I want to again strongly encourage Marylanders to do the same. To get your flu shot, you can go to your doctor, your grocery store, your local pharmacy, or you can just reach out to your local health department.”

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As part of #FightFlu Fridays, MDH will feature new “flu fighters” each week on social media, urging fellow Marylanders to get their flu shots. The toolkit extension includes social media graphics, stickers and templates, in addition to videos and digital ads. Users are encouraged to use the templates to customize their own “flu fighter” content and post to social media using the hashtag #FightFlu.

“We’re facing an unprecedented challenge dealing with flu season in the midst of a global pandemic, so we need to do everything we can to protect our communities,” said MDH Secretary Robert R. Neall. “We’re seizing new opportunities for engagement to make sure people are getting the message about vaccinations and taking action to fight the flu.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 2019-2020 flu season saw strong vaccination coverage in Maryland, especially for children and older adults. The coverage is attributed in part to the greater availability of local and school-based flu vaccination clinics. Roughly 75 percent of Maryland children 6 months­–17 years of age and adults age 65 and older had their flu shot, about 11 and 5 percent above the national average, respectively.

However, vaccination coverage for Marylanders 18–64 years of age was significantly lower at 47 percent and only slightly higher than the 42 percent national average for that age group. Concern remains that because the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season are happening at the same time—combined with relatively higher COVID-19 positivity rates among Marylanders under 35 years of age—that health care resources may be overwhelmed if there is more substantial illness. A general routine vaccination decrease among Marylanders 0–18 years of age since the onset of the pandemic is also concerning, although there has been a steady increase since April.

The “Fight the Flu” digital toolkit is available for download at health.maryland.gov/flu. The full campaign will run through the fall and winter, featuring television spots, social media and digital outreach and educational materials for at-risk groups.

To find free local flu shot clinics, visit marylandvax.org.

To support MDH’s “Fight the Flu” campaign on social media, tag @mdhealthdept on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #FightFlu.

To learn more about flu and flu surveillance in Maryland, visit health.maryland.gov/flu.

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The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement. 

Follow us at http://www.twitter.com/MDHealthDept and Facebook.com/MDHealthDept and https://www.instagram.com/mdhealthdept/.