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Fill-in-Blank County Health Department News Release

_____ County Health Department Promotes Flu Shots

For Release: _____
Contact: _____
Phone: _____

The H1N1 influenza pandemic emphasized the importance of flu shots for everyone last year and the _____ County Health Department is gearing up for another busy flu season this year.

“Forty-three Oklahomans died from H1N1 influenza last year, so we encourage everyone in _____ County to protect themselves and their families this year by getting their annual flu shot,” said _____, administrative director for the _____ County Health Department. “People will only have to get one type of vaccine since the H1N1 vaccine will be incorporated into the regular seasonal flu vaccine that will be given this fall.

_____ urges the public to check with their doctor or pharmacy about the availability of flu vaccine. Flu shots will also be available at the _____ County Health Department for anyone who wants to be protected from influenza. The shot is especially recommended for children 6 months of age up to their 19th birthday, pregnant women, persons 50 years of age or older, persons with chronic medical conditions, residents who live in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities, and persons who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu, including health care workers.

_____ emphasized that flu can be a serious disease. Each year about 60 million Americans get seasonal influenza, resulting in about 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations. “Getting a flu shot each year is the best and most important step in protecting against flu,” s/he said.
_____ suggested _____ County residents “take 3 actions” to prevent the flu:
· First, take time to get vaccinated for seasonal flu.
· Second, take those everyday preventive actions to keep from spreading flu viruses: cover your cough; wash your hands; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. And if you get sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medications.
· Third, take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them, especially if you are at increased risk of complications from the flu.

This year local health departments will be charging a $25 fee for regular seasonal flu shots due to state budget constraints and the increased cost of vaccine. Those with insurance and resources to pay will be assessed the fee. No fee will be assessed for persons who are on Medicare and do not belong to an HMO, for those who are on SoonerCare (Medicaid), and for those children who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program. Others may be eligible for fee waivers based on income. Persons with questions are encouraged to contact the _____ County Health Department.

“What’s important to remember is that the modest cost of getting a flu shot is far less than the cost of having the flu, feeling miserable for a week, missing work, and essentially losing a week of your normal life,” said _____.  “And for many, the consequences of getting the flu can be even greater. When considered in that context, the flu shot is a bargain.”

No one will be denied a flu shot if they have an inability to pay. Voluntary donations will be accepted.

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