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FOR RELEASE: January 23 , 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Health Officials Encourage Persons with Diabetes to a Get Flu Shot

If you have diabetes and have not yet received a flu shot this year, public health officials are encouraging you to get one soon. Persons with diabetes are three times more likely to die from complications resulting from influenza and pneumonia. Even so,

only half of persons with diabetes get an annual flu shot, and even fewer get immunized against pneumococcal disease, the most frequent cause of pneumonia.

It is safe and convenient to give people with diabetes a pneumococcal shot during the same health care visit they receive their flu shot, according to the Diabetes Prevention and Control Program at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Persons with diabetes should always contact their doctor before receiving flu shots or any other vaccine.

About 378,800 people in Oklahoma have diabetes. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and of the 20.8 million Americans with diabetes, about one-third do not know they have the disease. Risk factors for diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a family history of the disease. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians are at a higher risk for developing diabetes. Failure to get flu and pneumococcal vaccinations could leave many diabetics at risk of life-threatening influenza or pneumonia infections.

Persons who need a flu shot for themselves or their children should contact their health care provider or their local county health department to learn where flu vaccine is offered in their area. Many county health departments still have flu vaccine supplies. The pneumococcal pneumonia shot is available from private health care providers and at local county health departments for those persons at high risk of complications from this disease.

For additional information about diabetes, please contact your health care provider or the OSDH Diabetes Control and Prevention Program at 405-271-4072.

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