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FOR RELEASE: January 7, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Diabetics Urged to Talk to Their Doctor About Getting a Flu Shot

For Oklahomans with diabetes, the flu and pneumonia can mean more than aches and pains. It can mean being sick longer, more hospital bills, missing work, or even death. People with diabetes are three times more likely to die with complications of influenza and pneumonia than people who do not have diabetes. According to the most recent hospital discharge data available to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, in 1999 there were more than 3,000 hospitalizations for influenza and pneumonia among Oklahomans with diabetes.

For those with diabetes, the complications from influenza and pneumonia are preventable with the appropriate vaccinations, yet more than 30 percent of Oklahomans with diabetes do not get an annual flu shot and nearly 40 percent fail to get a pneumonia shot.

According to the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with diabetes who are 6 months and older need a flu shot each year beginning in September and two doses of the influenza vaccine administered at least one month apart, with the last administered before December, for children under 9 years of age who have never been vaccinated.

A one-time vaccine for pneumonia is sufficient for most people with diabetes under the age of 65. A one-time revaccination is recommended for those persons 65 and older who were previously vaccinated more than five years ago.

Health officials urge people with diabetes to protect themselves against the flu and pneumonia by getting the flu and pneumonia shots still available at local county health departments across the state. Talk to your doctor first before getting a flu shot or any other type of vaccination.

Visit your physician’s office or local health department today. For more information, contact the state health department’s Diabetes Control and Prevention Program at 1-888-669-5934, your health care provider, or your county health department.

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