Families Fighting Flu launches social media effort pushing vaccinations

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Families Fighting Flu (FFF), a nonprofit focused on protecting children from the flu, launched its “Be a Flu Free Family” campaign this week. Social media, online video and podcasts are being used to drive awareness of the importance of all family members getting a flu shot.

The effort went live on January 13, Family Flu Vaccination Day, which is part of the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) fourth annual National Influenza Vaccination Week.

Laura Scott, executive director of Families Fighting Flu, said this campaign launched later in the flu season than in past years. “Because of the unique nature of this flu season with H1N1, we waited,” she said. “We can't go out and push vaccines when there aren't a lot available.”

Scott said she hopes the campaign urges three groups of people to get shots: children, pregnant women and the caregivers of babies fewer than six months old.

The online video, which is just under two minutes long, is an animated short from the point of view of a young boy. It details why everyone should get a flu shot and what kids could miss out on should they get the flu — camping trips, sleepovers and sports practices. The video drives to FamiliesFightingFlu.org and 1-888-2END-FLU, where consumers can get more information on flu vaccines.

The video is also on the organization's Web site and on YouTube and Facebook. Online users can also embed the video to blogs or social networking sites.

At FamiliesFightingFlu.org users can sign up to receive newsletters from FFF as well as follow the company on Facebook and Twitter.

For the first time, FFF is also running a Google AdWords campaign for paid search. “Clearly we saw the need to be on Google,” Scott said. “Everyone nowadays is searching for flu information online.”

FFF also has a partnership with Mommycast, in which the mommy blog shows a separate video of a Q&A with Doris Stein where she outlines her 4-year-old daughter's death as a result of the flu in 2002. The video also drives to FFF's site.

The campaign, which was developed in house, will run at least until the end of flu season, which could be as late as May, said Stein.

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