ATTN: EDITORS, HEALTH, SCIENCE and FEATURE REPORTERS and PHOTOGRAPHERS
Every flu season, thousands of adults over the age of 65 die from complications related to influenza and pneumonia. In many cases, immunizations can effectively prevent the flu and pneumonia. Yet, studies show there is still widespread fear among senior citizens when it comes to getting immunized against these life-threatening infections.
Why is this? Researchers in the UIC College of Pharmacy want to know. To get at the misconceptions and reasons behind this fear, UIC pharmacist-researchers, in conjunction with Pfizer Inc. and the Woodlawn Community Development Corporation, will ask the residents of two senior citizen communities on Chicago's South Side, during the upcoming "Using Your Medicines Wisely" programs.
UIC pharmacist-researchers will discuss the safety of each participating senior's "tried-and-true" prescription and over-the-counter medications. As part of that conversation, pharmacists will also stress the importance of immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases and discuss their views on immunizations. Both upcoming programs are outgrowths of UIC's partnership with the Suburban Area Agency to bring similar outreach programs to senior citizen communities throughout the Chicago area.
UIC pharmacist-researchers use traditional approaches to educate and persuade participating seniors to get immunized. They hope to reduce fear and increase the number of older adults opting to receive flu and pneumonia vaccines. Later, the researchers will analyze the information collected during their ongoing survey to measure the impact of their efforts. In the end, researchers hope they will have enough information to develop more effective messages and approaches for helping senior citizens appreciate the value of immunizations.
- UIC -
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