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FOR RELEASE: October 14, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Don’t Forget Your Flu Shot
Adult Immunization Week is October 12-18

Health officials are reminding everyone to stay up-to-date on their flu shots again this year. Flu season in Oklahoma usually runs from November to March so those most at risk of getting flu or pneumonia are encouraged to begin getting vaccinated now, according to officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH).

Approximately 114,000 people are hospitalized due to influenza and another 175,000 due to pneumococcal disease each year. According to a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, influenza vaccine reduces the risk of hospitalization for cardiac disease and stroke for people aged 65 or older.

“Adult Immunization Week is October 12 -18 and this provides another opportunity for us to remind people that flu season is upon us again. It is time to get those shots on your ‘To-Do’ list,” said OSDH Immunization Service Chief Don Blose.

Adults who should receive the flu vaccine include the following:

  • persons 65 years of age and older;
  • residents of nursing homes and other chronic-care facilities that house persons of any age who have chronic medical conditions;
  • persons with chronic disorders of the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems, including asthma and chronic metabolic diseases (including diabetes mellitus), renal dysfunction, hemoglobinopathies, or immunosuppression (including immunosuppression caused by medications);
  • health care workers;
  • women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the influenza season; and
  • household contacts of persons at increased risk of influenza-related complications (including contacts of infants less than 6 months old who are not eligible for influenza vaccine).

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also recommends the vaccination of persons aged 50 to 64. However, due to limited supply of state-purchased vaccines, OSDH recommends these persons be vaccinated in late November with the general population, as supplies are available.

The pneumococcal vaccination is also recommended for at-risk persons ages 65 or older and for younger people with chronic medical conditions.

For more information about flu and pneumococcal vaccinations, or to find out about clinics scheduled in your area, contact your health care provider or the local health department.

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