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Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital works to protect community against flu and pertussis

Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is offering free flu and pertussis vaccinations and education to families registering for this year’s Salvation Army Christmas Bureau. In its third year, the program has vaccinated more than 1,200 local adults and children.

“We expect to vaccinate approximately 500 people this year,” said Manika Suryadevara, MD, lead author of the study and assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. “This offers us a chance to increase vaccination rates and decrease the spread of both flu and pertussis within our community. The cost is free and because families are already attending the Christmas Bureau registration, we are able to vaccinate them without an extra trip to see their family physicians. To improve access for families is key,” said Suryadevara.

“Vaccinations have prevented nearly one hundred million infections over the last century,” said Joseph Domachowske, MD, professor of pediatrics at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and co-investigator of the study.

The flu shot is recommended for those 6 months of age and older. The pertussis vaccination is recommended at 2, 4 and 6 months, with a booster at 15 to 18 months and another booster between the ages of 4 to 6. We are offering the adult booster vaccine for anyone who has not yet received it.

In addition to the free vaccines, Upstate is inviting families to participate in a research study designed to educate the community about pertussis, also known as whooping cough, and the vaccine to prevent pertussis.

Half the participants will complete a survey and the other half will watch a video about pertussis. The study will examine the impact education alone has on the number of adults being vaccinated, versus education combined with watching the video.

Advance registration is required for the Salvation Army Christmas Bureau. Registration was held earlier this week and will be  Thursday, Dec. 12,  from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; and Friday, Dec. 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oncenter, 800 South State St., Syracuse, N.Y.

Caption: Joseph Domachowske, MD, professor of pediatrics and study co-investigator, Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, prepares to vaccinate nine-month-old Aimee-Marie, as her mother, Samantha Bcardsley, looks on.