Pima Council on Aging and Armory Park Senior Center, Tucson Medical Center and the Pima County Health Department Urge Tucson Residents To Get Their Flu Vaccination

TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) and Armory Park Senior Center, in partnership with Tucson Medical Center and the Pima County Health Department will hold a flu awareness event and flu shot vaccination clinic on October 4 starting at 9:00 a.m. at the Armory Park Senior Center to reach older adults in the Tucson area with information about the dangers of the flu and the importance of receiving an annual influenza vaccination to help protect themselves from influenza and its complications. The educational event is part of a new national campaign called Flu + You from the National Council on Aging (NCOA), which is designed to help educate older adults, their caregivers, and family members about influenza prevention and available vaccine options.

The immune system weakens with age, leaving adults 65 and older at highest risk for developing influenza and suffering its potentially deadly complications. Each year in the United States more than nine out of 10 flu-related deaths and more than six out of 10 flu-related hospitalizations occur in people over the age of 65.

"Despite the risks influenza poses to older adults, more than 35 percent of adults 65 and older in Arizona did not receive an influenza vaccination during the 2010-2011 influenza season," said Jim Murphy, CEO of Pima Council on Aging (PCOA). "Older adults are an important part of the Tucson community and we want to keep them active and healthy. This is why understanding their risk and taking action to prevent influenza is so crucial for older adults."

"Vaccination is safe and effective and the best way to prevent influenza," adds Marlene Bluestein, MD, geriatrician and Tucson Medical Center physician. "In fact, an annual influenza immunization is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older including older adults. So while it is helpful to take other preventative measures, such as covering coughs, washing hands, and staying away from people who are sick to prevent the spread of influenza virus, these cannot replace vaccination as the best method of protection."

As part of the Flu + You campaign in Tucson, PCOA will host a flu awareness event and a flu shot clinic at Armory Park Senior Center on Thursday, October 4 starting at 9:00 a.m. to further inform local older adults and their caregivers about influenza and vaccination for this age group. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, along with Jim Murphy and Dr. Bluestein, will all receive a flu shot at the event. Mayor Rothschild will read a proclamation designating October 4, 2012 in Tucson as "Flu +You Day."

Adults 65 and older have two vaccine options available – the traditional flu shot, as well as a higher dose flu vaccine designed to address the age-related decline of the immune system to trigger a stronger immune response following influenza immunization. Both options are among the vaccines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for adults 65 years of age and older and are covered by Medicare Part B with no copay.

"Even healthy older adults can suffer from serious flu-related complications like pneumonia, which can result in death," said Dr. Bluestein. "Vaccination is the best defense against the flu, and I urge everyone to help protect themselves by getting an annual flu shot as soon as it is available each year and for older adults to understand how critically important this action can be."

Older adults should talk to their health care providers about influenza and the vaccine options available to them. For more information on the flu awareness and flu shot clinic at Armory Park Senior Center, call the Armory Park Senior Center office at 520-791-4865. For more information on the national Flu + You campaign or to download educational materials, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.

Pima Council on Aging (PCOA)
Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) is the designated Area Agency on Aging serving older adults and their families living in Pima County, Arizona. Established in 1967, Pima Council on Aging (PCOA) was the first Council on Aging in the State of Arizona, and served as a model for the national network of Area Agencies on Aging. PCOA is one of eight Area Agencies on Aging in the state today and one of 655 across the nation. PCOA is a membership-supported non-profit 501(c)(3) organization accessible to any individual or group seeking assistance or sharing our mission. For more information about PCOA programs and services please visit online at www.pcoa.org or call PCOA Central Intake (Information)/ Helpline at (520) 790-7262

Armory Park Senior Center is one of three designated 'senior centers' operated by the City Parks and Recreation Department. Located in the Armory Park Historic District downtown at 220 S. Fifth Avenue, the Armory Park Senior Center is a vital aging center that enhances the quality of life for persons ages 50+ years by providing socialization, recreation, education, information, nutrition, social services and support. For more information about Armory Park Senior Center, call (520) 791-4865.

Tucson Medical Center (TMC)
Tucson Medical Center, licensed at 612 beds, has been Tucson's locally-governed nonprofit regional hospital for more than 65 years. TMC is Southern Arizona's leading provider for emergency care and pediatric care (including Tucson's first Pediatric Emergency Department), with top-notch intensive care units for adults, children and newborns. Other specialty areas include women's, maternity, cardiac, orthopedic, neuroscience, imaging and senior services.

TMC is a Thomson Reuters 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospital, and earned certification as a Primary Stroke Center, accreditation as a Chest Pain Center, and the Gold Plus Achievement Award for stroke programs from the American Heart Association/ American Stroke Association. TMC is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence and is the only Tucson hospital recently recognized as a top-ranked Community Value Provider by Cleverley + Associates.

TMC HealthCare is Southern Arizona's locally governed nonprofit system, the corporate entity that includes Tucson Medical Center, TMC Foundation and Saguaro Physicians. Details online at www.tmcaz.com. For more information about Tucson Medical Center, 5301 E. Grant Rd., call (520) 327-5461

Flu + You
NCOA, with the support of Sanofi Pasteur, has developed educational materials designed to reach older adults, caregivers, and health care providers with critical information regarding influenza and immunization options.

For more information on Flu + You, visit www.ncoa.org/Flu.

About NCOA
The National Council on Aging is a nonprofit service and advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, DC. NCOA is a national voice for millions of older adults—especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged—and the community organizations that serve them. It brings together nonprofit organizations, businesses, and government to develop creative solutions that improve the lives of all older adults. NCOA works with thousands of organizations across the country to help seniors find jobs and benefits, improve their health, live independently, and remain active in their communities. For more information, please visit:www.NCOA.org | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging

Media Contacts:

Adina Wingate
Pima Council on Aging (PCOA)

Andy Weisser
National Council on Aging

SOURCE Pima Council on Aging (PCOA)