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Gov. Gregoire joins Elmo to promote flu prevention

For Immediate Release: November 5, 2009

OLYMPIA – Gov. Chris Gregoire is featured in a new radio public service announcement alongside Sesame Street’s Elmo to promote key flu prevention messages to parents and children.

“Young children are being hit especially hard by the H1N1 virus,” Gregoire said. “We need to use every strategy possible to get kids to listen and take appropriate steps to prevent getting sick. Elmo is a great partner, and I hope the two of us together can persuade all Washingtonians to wash their hands, cover their cough and prepare a plan if a family member catches the H1N1 virus.”

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, children and young adults continue to be disproportionately affected by H1N1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than half of the hospitalizations from 2009 H1N1 flu reported recently were people age 24 and younger. That’s why HHS has teamed up with Sesame Workshop and other partners to promote flu prevention PSAs aimed at educating children and their parents about the importance of staying healthy during flu season.

“Elmo has emerged as one of our best partners in fighting the flu this year,” said US Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “That’s why we are excited for Elmo to join some of the nation’s governors in promoting important flu prevention tips. We know that kids are especially vulnerable against H1N1, and we hope that hearing flu prevention tips from Elmo will help them stay healthy and flu free.”

Along with Gregoire, 12 other governors recorded PSAs with Elmo. All of the latest flu PSAs are available on www.flu.gov/psa/. Visit the Washington state Department of Health Web site – www.doh.wa.gov – for information about vaccines, fact sheets and the latest on H1N1 in Washington.