Actress Jennifer Garner joins the American Lung Association in a new role as national spokesperson for the Association’s Faces of Influenza education campaign.
The star of the former TV hit, Alias, will encourage families to speak with their health care providers about annual influenza vaccination.
"Women play an important role in a family. It’s our job to take care of those we love, that’s why I make sure my family is protected against influenza," said Garner. "As one of the many Faces of Influenza, you and I and those close to us need to get vaccinated. Influenza is not the common cold. It’s serious."
On average, approximately 36,000 people die and about 226,000 are hospitalized due to influenza and its complications in the United States every year. More than two out of every three Americans are recommended for annual vaccination, but immunization rates fall far short every year, leaving many unprotected and at risk for severe illness.
Garner is joined by other celebrities, public health officials, and everyday people who are part of the Faces of Influenza initiative including Dean Cain, who played Superman on ABC’s Lois and Clark; Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi; Olympic Gold Medalist, WNBA basketball star Sheryl Swoopes; Dr. Joyce Brothers, well-known psychologist and advice columnist; Joy Behar, co-host of ABC’s The View; Olympic Gold Medalist Vonetta Flowers; and actor Peter Gallagher.
The campaign will officially kick off on November 12 with a public vaccination clinic in New York City, where Garner will join Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, MD, MPH, and others in encouraging people to seek influenza immunization for themselves and their families. Since the influenza season typically does not peak until February, vaccination should continue throughout the fall and winter months, and even into the spring.