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FOR RELEASE: January 3, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Flu Vaccine Now Readily Available

Oklahoma's recent inclement weather contributed to the cancellation of some flu clinics and may have discouraged some people from seeking a much-needed flu shot. Even so, it's not too late to get a flu shot, state health officials advise.

Long-awaited supplies of vaccine are now available at local county health departments and can be used to vaccinate anyone, including healthy adults, school aged children and any “high risk” individuals who have not yet received the shot. People at high risk for complications from the flu include persons over the age of 65; residents of nursing homes; persons with diabetes, immune system problems or lung disorders; as well as women who will be in their second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season (November through April); and health care workers who care for high risk persons.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health's flu surveillance system is reporting sporadic activity around the state with a total of eight cultures testing positive for Influenza A (H1N1) and one positive culture for Influenza B/Yamanashi. This year's vaccine includes coverage for both of these strains.

Health officials also recommend pneumococcal vaccine for persons who are 65 years of age or older, or persons who have heart or lung problems or diabetes. This vaccine protects against pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common type of pneumonia resulting in hospitalizations, and is available at physicians' offices and county health departments.

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