This flu season Brandi Chastain encourages families: Don’t wait to vaccinate

With schools in session, it’s a busy time of year for most families, and there’s plenty of stress without having to worry about catching the flu. To help raise awareness about the importance of flu vaccination as the best defense against the flu, soccer legend and mom Brandi Chastain has teamed up with MedImmune for the third year in a row on a national campaign called “When Will You Pick?,” encouraging families to make flu vaccination a priority as soon as vaccine is available each year.

“Keeping my family healthy and active is my number-one goal, so we make sure to get our flu vaccine as soon as possible every year,” says Chastain. “Make appointments with your doctor to help protect your eligible family members today.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all eligible individuals ages 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccination as soon as it becomes available, which means now is a perfect time to get yourself and your eligible family members vaccinated. In fact, it’s ideal for individuals to get vaccinated before the flu season begins so the immune system has enough time to produce the antibodies needed to protect against flu infections.

“Vaccination is the best defense we have against influenza, so families should make getting a vaccination a priority every year.” says Dr. Anat Feingold, pediatrician, influenza expert, and mother of three. “Individuals should also take everyday steps to help prevent the spread of germs, such as washing their hands and covering their coughs, but vaccination should be the first step.”

This year’s flu vaccine contains the same three strains as last year’s vaccine, because the same flu viruses are still circulating. Even though you may have received the vaccine last year, the CDC still encourages individuals to get vaccinated this year, regardless of whether the viruses in the vaccine have changed since the previous season because immunity to the virus wanes over time. There are two types of flu vaccine available – the shot and the nasal spray. Not all flu vaccines are right for all people so families should talk to their healthcare provider about which vaccine option is right for them.

An average of 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population becomes ill with the flu each year, and more than 200,000 of these individuals are hospitalized due to complications. The flu can be especially serious for children. Each year, an average of 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized as a result of flu complications, and children ages 2 to 17 are twice as likely to get the flu as adults.

To learn more about the importance of flu vaccination, visit, which offers tips for staying healthy throughout the flu season, a quiz to test influenza knowledge, and videos and photos featuring Chastain. Also, for everyone who “likes” the Facebook fan page, $ 1 (up to $ 50,000) will be donated to help support the nationwide flu vaccination education efforts of the nonprofit organization Families Fighting Flu.