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FOR RELEASE: January 16, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Flu Bug Can Still Bite, So Get Flu Shot

Even though flu is not as widespread in the state as it was last year at this time, health officials say the flu bug still has time to bite.

With the delay of the delivery of flu vaccine this winter, state and local health officials have held their breath as they worked to make sure Oklahomans were vaccinated in time before the flu season peaked. Luckily, the reported cases of influenza have been sporadic thus far and health officials urge the public to take advantage of this “window of opportunity” to get their flu shot if they haven't already.

Health officials had focused early in the season on making sure available vaccine supplies went to vaccinate those persons at high risk from health complications from influenza. Vaccine is now available so that healthy adults and children 6 months of age and older can get the flu shot, as well as anyone at risk for complications from influenza. Persons at high risk include those over the age of 65, persons with chronic illnesses, pregnant women in their second or third trimester, and health care workers who provide care to at-risk patients.

Although it takes 10 to 14 days to reach full immunity from influenza after getting the flu shot, some immunity does begin shortly after receiving the shot. The Oklahoma State Department of Health's statewide flu surveillance system is reporting two influenza strains thus far: Influenza A (H1N1) and Influenza B/Yamanashi. This year's vaccine provides coverage for both of these strains.

Local county health departments are extending their flu vaccine clinics this week. County health departments can also provide pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal pneumonia, the most common form of hospitalizations for pneumonia.

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