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FOR RELEASE: November 4, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Adult Influenza Vaccine and Vaccine For Children
Now Available in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced today that it has received shipment of 102,500 doses of adult influenza vaccine to be targeted for adults at high risk of complications from influenza. The adult doses will be shipped to local county health departments this week. County health departments will contact their local media about the locations and times of local influenza vaccination clinics.

Most county health departments are expecting to open their influenza clinics to those individuals who meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations for vaccine on Tuesday, Nov. 9, according to OSDH public health officials. Those in need of a flu shot may also want to check with their primary care provider or other groups about vaccine availability in their community. Currently there are no confirmed cases of influenza in Oklahoma.

The OSDH has also received an additional supply of Vaccine for Children (VFC) Program influenza vaccine that will be made available next week at county health departments and private physician offices for children who are at high risk of complications from influenza.

According to recommendations by CDC, groups most at risk of complications from influenza include 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.

“This is very good news for Oklahomans, particularly those whose health places them at need for protection from influenza,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

Crutcher said despite the challenges of the national influenza vaccine supply shortage, county health department influenza clinics are still proceeding on schedule. The latest shipments of adult and children’s vaccine represents about 62 percent of what the State of Oklahoma originally ordered for this year.

“Each county health department may tailor the distribution method of giving the child and adult vaccines to meet the needs of their high risk populations,” said Crutcher. “Clinic locations and times will vary, so we strongly advise those who meet the high risk group criteria to contact their health care provider, who may also have received vaccine, as well as their county health department, before standing in long lines and putting their health at further risk,” he recommended.

Crutcher also reminded everyone that they can help prevent the spread of germs through proper hand washing; covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; avoiding touching eyes, nose or mouth; avoiding close contact with persons who are ill; and staying home when ill.

For information about the influenza shot clinic schedules for high-risk adults and children, contact the county health department in your area.

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