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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Governor Jennifer Granholm Release New H1N1 Public Service Announcement with The Jim Henson Company's "Sid the Science Kid"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

PSAs encourage kids and parents to get vaccinated

Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Ad Council released a new 30-second H1N1 public service announcement (PSA) for TV featuring Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan and the Jim Henson Company's "Sid the Science Kid." The new PSA brings together one of America's favorite TV characters and Governor Granholm to remind children and parents that vaccination is the best way to stay healthy during this flu season.

"With a record number of pediatric deaths, children are one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to H1N1 flu," said Secretary Sebelius. "Not only are they at higher risk for complications from H1N1 but they also contribute to the spread of the virus because of school, daycare and other group activities. That's why we are pleased to team up with America's Governors and "Sid the Science Kid," as we urge more Americans to get vaccinated." 

"We want to protect our children and our communities from the H1N1 flu virus and getting the vaccine is the best way to do that," said Governor Jennifer M. Granholm.  "Working with ‘Sid the Science Kid' is a great way to reach out to our children and encourage them and their parents to get the H1N1 vaccination."

"Right now, Americans have a window of opportunity to protect themselves and their communities by getting vaccinated against the H1N1 flu," Sebelius said. "While disease has declined in many areas of the country, the flu is unpredictable and there could be additional waves of illness as flu season continues.  Getting vaccinated is the best way to lessen the impact of, or even prevent another wave of H1N1 flu."

Children, young adults under 25, pregnant women and adults 25-64 with underlying health conditions, like asthma, are more susceptible to falling ill to the H1N1 flu and are at higher risk for serious medical complications, including hospitalization and death.  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that individuals in these groups, as well as caretakers of children younger than six months of age, and health care workers get the H1N1 vaccine as soon as possible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between April and November 14, 2009, 47 million people were infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu, more than 200,000 H1N1-related hospitalizations occurred, and there were more than 9,800 H1N1-related deaths. CDC estimates that between mid-April and November 14th, that there were over 1,000 pediatric deaths, 71,000 pediatric hospitalizations, and a total of 16 million pediatric cases.

Created in collaboration with the Jim Henson Company, the new PSA campaign is designed specifically to reach children and parents. On October 26th, a special episode of Sid the Science Kid "Getting a Shot: You Can Do It" premiered on PBS KIDS, in which Sid and his friends get vaccinated against the flu. The special episode will continue running on PBS through 2010 and is available for download on The campaign builds on a broader HHS PSA campaign that was launched earlier this year and includes messages from Members of Congress, Elmo, top-health officials, and an Ad Council campaign for TV and radio called "Together We Can All Fight the Flu."  All HHS PSAs are available at

The new 30-second television PSAs will be distributed locally through the Ad Council. In addition to Governor Granholm, 14 other Governors, a state First Lady, and a state Chief Medical Officer recorded PSAs with "Sid the Science Kid."

About The Advertising Council
The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

About The Jim Henson Company
The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for over 50 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy® nominated "Sid the Science Kid," "Dinosaur Train" and "Pajanimals." Features include "The Dark Crystal," "Labyrinth," "MirrorMask," and "Unstable Fables" and television productions include "Fraggle Rock" and the sci-fi cult series "Farscape."

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. Independently owned and operated by the five adult children of founder Jim Henson, the Company is also home to Jim Henson's Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character-building and visual effects group with international film, television and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry's top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of-the-art and vintage equipment.

The Company is currently in production on "Wilson and Ditch: Digging America," a webisode series for featuring the Company's Emmy-winning animation technology, and the Company's Henson Alternative brand continues to produce "Puppet Up! - Uncensored," a live puppet improvisational show that runs monthly at the Avalon Hollywood. The Company has also announced the creation of The Hub, a third party licensing banner established to acquire and service global consumer products programs for external brands and entertainment properties.

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