When her kindergartener died of the flu in October 2009, former environmental scientist Serese Marotta knew she had to do something about it. Eventually she connected with the nonprofit organization Families Fighting Flu and now serves as the COO, directing the organization's efforts to spread information and awareness about the severity of influenza.
According to Serese, around 50% of kids who lose their lives to flu are otherwise healthy. She says there is no replacement for the flu vaccine, and it provides both individual and community immunity.
Her son, Joseph, had received the vaccine but the pandemic (H1N1) was not in the vaccine that year, so he had no protection against the pandemic strain. At the time of his illness, the monovalent (1 strain) vaccine became available to help prevent the h1n1 strain but was not available where the Marotta family lived until two weeks after Joseph had died.
In this episode, Serese address common misconceptions about the flu and the flu vaccine, including whether you can get the flu from the vaccine.
The vaccine isn't perfect - but if you get it you probably won't get hospitalized or die. But the flu virus knows no calendar, and the only thing we can predict about flu is that it will be unpredictable.
According to Serese, everyone 6 months or older should be vaccinated against the flu annually.
Flu is the deadliest vaccine-preventable disease: 650,000 people globally every year lose their lives to flu. Serese also says the flu costs the US economy 87 billion every year.
80% of the children who lose their lives to flu are not vaccinated.
"Sometimes i feel like i have the weight of the world on my shoulders because if I stop, people are going to die." - Serese Marotta, COO of Families Fighting Flu
To learn more about Families Fighting Flu and the statistics and information for preventing the flu, visit www.familiesfightingflu.org.
For more inspiring stories of moms making a difference, visit www.influentialmotherhood.com.