Colorado health officials are using Facebook in their efforts to convince people to obtain flu vaccines this winter. They’ve even resorted to a contest: a lottery to win a pair of Denver Nuggets tickets or a $150 spa gift certificate (via KUNC radio). A federal health survey finds that roughly one in three people living in the Denver area have had flu shots so far this year. “Whatever reason individuals have for not yet receiving a flu shot, now is the time to do so because the flu is on its way,” says Joni Reynolds, immunization program director for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (via The Denver Post).
One reason to get a flu shot is to help protect infants six months or younger, who are particularly vulnerable. Plus, Americans aren’t as healthy as we used to be, and perhaps the recession is to blame. Life expectancy in the United States dropped slightly in 2008, the first full year of the recession. Yet as Richard Rogers, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado at Boulder tells MSNBC, “a one-year change doesn’t really establish a trend. But I think it’s important to take notice and see what’s there.” Numerous causes are cited for more deaths in the United States, including a 4.9 percent rise in flu and pneumonia rates.