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Fill-in-Blank News Release for County Health Departments

For Release:     _____ 2010
Contact:          (name/title)
Phone:            (Telephone number)

_____ County Health Department Schedules Flu Vaccine Clinics

The _____ County Health Department announced today its seasonal influenza vaccination clinic schedule for the upcoming flu season. Clinics will begin October _____. Clinic days and times are as follows: __________________________________________________________________.

Flu vaccine will be available for anyone who wants to be protected from influenza. The shot is now recommended for everyone over 6 months of age. Persons at high risk of serious complications from flu are especially advised to get the flu vaccine, including pregnant women and those persons with asthma, diabetes or other chronic conditions. Persons who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from the flu, including health care workers, should also get the vaccine.

"Flu can be a dangerous disease for people of all ages, even healthy children and adults. Since Sept. 1, 2009, in Oklahoma, 47 persons have died from H1N1 influenza, so we encourage everyone in _____ County to protect themselves and their families by getting their annual flu shot,” said _____, administrative director for the _____ County Health Department. "Only one type of vaccine is needed this year, since the H1N1 vaccine will be one of three strains incorporated into this year's regular seasonal flu vaccine."

_____emphasized that getting an annual flu shot is the most important step in protecting against the flu. "Influenza vaccine is very safe and effective," s/he said.

Due to state budget constraints and the increased cost of influenza vaccine, the _____ County Health Department will be charging a $25 fee for regular seasonal flu vaccinations.  Those with private insurance and resources to pay will be assessed the fee, with the exception of persons enrolled in HealthChoice insurance. In addition to HealthChoice subscribers, no fee will be assessed for persons who are on Medicare and do not belong to an HMO, 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. The _____ County Health Department will accept cash, check and credit cards for payment.

"Being sick with influenza can result in missed work, missed school, doctor visits and even hospitalization. In today's economy, it makes even more sense to protect yourself, and your family, friends and coworkers by getting the protection the flu shot provides," _____ said.

_____ said high-dose flu vaccine, a vaccine with four times the antigen than regular flu vaccine, will be available for persons 65 and older. “Immune systems are less responsive as people age. The high-dose vaccine should provide more protection although it may come with a slightly higher chance for typical side effects like sore arm, headache, low fever,” said ________.   In addition to getting a flu vaccination, persons 65 and older and those with chronic health conditions should ask their doctor if they should be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia, which is a common and potentially serious complication of the flu. Unlike the influenza vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine does not need to be given every year.

For more information about the upcoming flu clinics at the _____ County Health Department, call (phone number).

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