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Fill-in-Blank News Release
for County Health Departments

County Health Department Reminder:  Get Your Flu Shot
(More Older Oklahomans are Getting Vaccinated)

For Release: (December __, 2002)
Contact: (Name, title )
(Phone number)

The _____ County Health Department today urged people to get a flu shot to protect themselves against a viral wintertime respiratory illness that can be fatal. Flu season officially began in October and usually reaches its peak in Oklahoma after December.

Influenza, or flu, is a viral respiratory illness marked by the sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose and muscle aches.  Symptoms can last several days to several weeks.  The illness is spread when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks, sending the highly contagious virus into the air.

“Flu vaccine supplies are sufficient this year to meet the demand statewide and we want to encourage those persons at high risk of complications from the flu to come in now,” said _____ County Health Department Administrative Director _____. This year's vaccine protects against the A/Moscow, A/New Caledonia and B/Hong Kong strains of the influenza virus.

Persons at high risk for flu complications include people over age 65, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, persons with chronic respiratory, heart or kidney conditions, people with diabetes, people with immunosuppression, children receiving long-term aspirin therapy, and women who will be in the second or third trimester of pregnancy during the flu season. All health care workers and people who provide care to high-risk patients should also receive the vaccine.  

Health officials recommend that persons 65 and older and those with chronic heart and lung conditions or diabetes get a one-time pneumococcal vaccination to reduce the risk of pneumonia resulting from influenza or other respiratory illnesses.

“We are slowly increasing the percentage of persons aged 65 and older who are receiving the flu vaccination. Oklahoma improved its ranking from being 11th in 1999 to 6th in the nation in 2001. Likewise, the pneumococcal vaccination increased 12.4 percent, moving Oklahoma’s ranking for that vaccination from 32nd to 11th in the nation,” said _____.

This year, for the first time, federal and state public health authorities are encouraging that the flu shot be given to healthy infants ages 6 months to 23 months. Children under 9 who are receiving flu vaccine for the first time need to receive two doses of vaccine given at least a month apart. Some locations may not offer the shot for children.

Flu clinics in this area are scheduled as follows: (date/time/location)


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


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