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FOR RELEASE: November 30, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Time Running Out for High Risk to Get Flu Shot Protection

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said today that time is running out for those at high risk of complications from influenza to be protected from the flu this year.

“As we approach December, we can expect to soon have confirmed cases of influenza in Oklahoma,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher. “The good news is that we now have received nearly all of the influenza vaccine we ordered prior to the announced vaccine shortage, so our local county health departments and many private providers should have plenty of vaccine to meet the needs of those in high-risk categories, without waiting in long lines.”

Crutcher urged all persons considered at high risk, even if they feel they are healthy, to protect themselves by getting an influenza shot as quickly as possible, including the following:

  • All children ages 6 - 23 months.
  • Adults 65 and older.
  • Persons aged 2 - 64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions.
  • All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season.
  • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
  • Children aged 6 months - 18 years who are on chronic aspirin therapy.
  • Health care workers involved in direct patient care.
  • Out of home caregivers and household contacts of children aged less than 6 months.
  • Household contacts of children or adults suffering from severe heart or lung disease or immunosuppressive conditions.

“Just a few weeks ago, we were concerned we would not be able to meet the needs of high-risk groups,” Crutcher noted. “Now that we have the vaccine, let’s make certain that all those who meet the high-risk criteria get their influenza shot this year. Please contact your health care provider or local county health department for their influenza vaccine clinic schedule.”

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