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FOR RELEASE: November 16, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Health Department Receives Partial Flu Vaccine Shipment

The Oklahoma State Department of Health announced today that it has received a second partial shipment of flu vaccine for this flu season. About 27,500 doses will be provided proportionally to local county health departments. More vaccine is expected -- possibly later this week.

State health officials emphasize this shipment will provide less than half of the doses needed by county health departments. Local health department clinics will give priority to vaccinating persons at high risk for complications from the flu, including people over 65 years of age, persons with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma, pregnant women, and health care workers who provide care to at-risk patients.

The first shipment of flu vaccine received earlier this month was distributed to nursing homes throughout the state. The state health department expects additional shipments by early December.

State health officials indicate that influenza activity is not yet circulating within Oklahoma, thus even with the vaccine delay, there still should be time for healthy adults to get a flu shot before flu season arrives.

Health officials do advise that persons with a chronic illness, like diabetes, should make every attempt to get their flu vaccination. Persons with diabetes are about three times more likely to die from problems associated with the flu and pneumonia than people who do not have diabetes.

Health officials also recommend that persons age 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions get a pneumococcal vaccination to reduce the risk of pneumonia resulting from influenza or other respiratory illnesses. This vaccine is currently available at physicians' offices and local county health departments.

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