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FOR RELEASE: September 8 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Officials Say Children Displaced by Hurricane Katrina
Should Not Pose a Health Risk

Prompted by some public concern, state health officials said today that Oklahoma children attending public schools or child care facilities are well protected from vaccine preventable diseases and face little threat from students transferring to Oklahoma schools and day care centers from hurricane-affected states.

Prior to temporarily waiving proof of immunization for children whose families have relocated or were evacuated to Oklahoma, state health officials examined state immunization requirements for Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. With the exception of hepatitis A vaccine, which is required in Oklahoma, state laws from the impacted areas are very similar to Oklahoma’s immunization laws.

Students who have been evacuated from other states and are now enrolling in Oklahoma’s schools or child care facilities will be offered hepatitis A vaccinations as well as tetanus boosters, as needed, through local county health departments.

Displaced children and adults residing in camps or crowded group settings are also recommended to receive hepatitis A, varicella (chicken pox), measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines. Health officials are in the process of setting up clinics for these impacted persons.

At the Camp Gruber National Guard Facility near Muskogee where more than 1,400 evacuees have been temporarily relocated, health officials have scheduled an immunization clinic tomorrow (Friday) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. for children and adults. Health department personnel will staff the clinic, along with The Oklahoma Caring Van from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, as well as volunteers from the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps.

As a side note, health officials said they have been overwhelmed with generous donations of medical supplies and at this time, no further donations are needed.

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