Image copyright CDC Image caption FDC, aka Cylindrical Flu, is a deadly super-virus that only affects children and young adults
Canada’s health authorities are using DC Comics superheroes to spread the word about a deadly strain of flu that can only be picked up by those in their first year of life.
“We’re known as the superhero city of the world, and to me superheroes have to be champions, champions for health,” said Dr Suzanne McTavish of the Toronto Public Health Department, about the campaign involving Superman and others called the FDC, or Flu Vaccine-Dynamite.
In a powerful social media campaign aimed at children, the superheroes are shown in superhero poses, making a plea for help from parents to get young children immunised against a particular strain of influenza, known as COVID-19.
Images of the superheroes quickly made their way around social media.
The superheroes believe that even superheroes need some help, and are using a “cosmic potion” to try to help the vaccine go from zero to zero.
“When they contact their parents with this special potion, the parents start paying attention to this simple vaccination advice,” said Dr McTavish.
“We make sure parents pay attention, and we love that there’s a shared experience.
“When parents make sure that their children get a flu vaccine, it also makes the small amount of living organisms on Earth go away, and we are going to rid the planet of COVID-19.”
Dr McTavish said this particular strain of flu is highly unpredictable – “it keeps jumping between the seasons”.
“We treat it like a snowflake – you just never know where it’s going to come from or what strain it’s going to be,” she said.
It is so unpredictable that the best way to protect children, she said, is to vaccinate them early.
Immunisation can be done as early as six months old in low-income, high-risk children, and from four to six months old in children who have not had a flu shot previously.
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FDC, aka COVID-19, is a dangerous virus that kills the young and the elderly.
The regular flu virus, however, is not as deadly or contagious, as it can spread quickly across a huge number of people.
So, with the FDC standing in for the flu virus, it is getting the message out to families that they need to get flu vaccines now.
Once vaccination campaigns start, they tend to stick around for some time and the impacts last long after the event.