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KERI GIVES IT A SHOT

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by Judy Antell

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    Most parents would do anything for their kids.  Actress and new mom (and Fort Greene, Brooklyn resident) Keri Russell took steps to ensure her son, River Russell Dreary, would stay healthy by getting herself vaccinated for pertussis.  Russell, whose new movie, August Rush, was just released, is a spokesperson for Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKIDS) and its campaign, “Silence the Sounds of Pertussis”.


   Ironically, in her new movie Russell plays a negligent mom who abandons her son.  But the actress veers far in the other direction in real life; she admits she has succumbed to the ‘new mommy’ worries, trying to do everything she can to keep her family healthy.
  
  Russell is quick to point out an important distinction in this campaign: The vaccine is for parents.  She notes that perussis (a.k.a. whooping cough) is the only vaccine-preventable disease that is on the rise, and that in over half the cases, infants get the disease from a parent or primary caregiver.
  
  The genius behind ‘Silence the Sounds’ is that when parents are inoculated, they stop the transmission of the disease.  Russell and her husband, Shane, got the vaccine in the pediatrician’s office. Infants do not get their first pertussis vaccination until they are 2 months old, so it’s critical that they not be exposed to the highly contagious disease while they are still most vulnerable.  
  
  Russell grew up out West in wide-open spaces, but she says she loves city life.  Her husband is renovating their brownstone and she says she enjoys “constantly pacing the Brooklyn streets” with River in a stroller, and “being part of a community here — such a different experience than being in the suburbs or the country.” She also proclaims herself a big fan of Fort Greene Park.
  
  You won’t see Russell dining en famille in her neighborhood, though; she says the family is at home a lot while they are working out “the whole bedtime ritual.” One constant is River’s love of the book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  
  
For more on pertussis, go to www.pkids.org.


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