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FOR RELEASE: November 21 , 2007
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

National Influenza Vaccination Week is Nov. 26 – Dec. 2: Get Your Flu Shot!

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) is encouraging all Oklahomans who have not yet received a flu vaccination to get one during National Influenza Vaccination Week, Nov. 26 to Dec. 2.

“With influenza activity beginning to circulate in the state, now is the best time to get vaccinated,” said Secretary of Health and State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.
“More vaccine is available this year than ever before. Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself and others around you from getting the flu.”

Health officials also stress to parents the importance of protecting their children against seasonal flu. Tuesday, Nov. 27, will be recognized nationally as Children’s Flu Vaccination Day. Each year, more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 are hospitalized as a result of influenza.

Observance of this day will help raise awareness about the value of vaccinating children, especially high-risk children and their close contacts, against the flu. “Having your children vaccinated is one of the best first-line defenses for protecting your family from the flu. Children typically have higher infection rates of influenza than the adult population in general,” Crutcher said.

Children under 6 months of age can get very sick from the flu, but they are too young to get the vaccine. The best way to protect them is to make sure that every member of their household and all of their caregivers are vaccinated to avoid passing on the flu.

The holidays are an ideal time for influenza to spread quickly across the country because of travel to visit relatives and friends. All it takes is a cough or sneeze from an infected person.

People who don’t get a flu vaccination place themselves at risk for influenza, which can be a long and serious illness, and if they do get the flu, they can easily spread it to their close contacts, who may be at high risk for flu complications and death.

Persons interested in getting a flu shot should contact their doctor’s office or the county health department in their area, or type “Flu Vaccine Locator” in an Internet search engine to find the nearest clinic. For more information about the flu, check out the OSDH “Influenza Facts, Updates and Resources” Web site at http://www.health.state.ok.us/program/cdd/flu/index.html.

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