The Desperation of Pharma: Get a Flu Shot, Get a Pizza Party

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Fighting Swine Flu With Pepperoni

7 Action News, Detroit
12/17/09

(WXYZ) – The Detroit Health Department is fighting swine flu with pepperoni. When kids return to school after the holiday break, each class has the opportunity to get a free pizza party – if they sign up for the shots.

It’s a simple fact–kids don’t like vaccinations – even when they can get them in a spray.
Their parents, like Leslie Ethridge however, are often eager to get their kids protected, “Your children get 20 some odd inoculations, this is just another one, so if it’s available you should get the shot.”

But when Detroit schools – both public and private– sent home permission slips for students to get H1N1 vaccine at school, the return rate was only about ten percent.

Dr. Walter Davis, Detroit Pandemic Flu Coordinator, told us, “talking to principals and some parents we find that a lot of them are never receiving consent forms.”

The Detroit Health Department has already been working especially hard to get the vaccine into the community.

For instance, today parents attending the Christmas program at the Foreign Language Immersion School on Outer Drive had the chance to get shots for themselves and their children before or after the program.

Mom, Kimberley Wallace said, “This is the easiest for me. This way I don’t have to take them to the doctor’s office, take them out of school or anything so it works out real well.”

But apparently not well enough. So Dr. Davis and his team came up with an innovative idea. They teamed up with Happy’s Pizza. And each class in the city that has a permission slip return rate of 80-percent or more will get a pizza party for the entire class.

According to Neil Master, Director of Advertising for Happy’s Pizza, “Kids love pizza and we love kids in Detroit and we take care of them whenever we can.”

And while the kids may sign up for the pizza, the parents need to know it’s important to sign the forms because flu season isn’t over just because the number of cases have leveled off.

Dr. Davis told us, “With our flu season, the peak is usually in February and it goes into March. I can tell you we will get hit again. We’re in December now. In January and February, the flu will increase tremendously.”

Another mom, L’Tonya Felder got shots for her children, “I think it’s extremely important. It’s important that the Detroit community come together and realize this is important for our health for our protection and we’re combating the h1n1 as well as the regular seasonal flu.”