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For Release:Nov. 8, 2010
Contact:  Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
(405) 271-5601 

Don’t Have a Lousy Holiday Season
At Least Not Because of the Flu!

While science hasn’t yet found an answer to a gift of fruitcake, it has found a safe way to minimize your chances of getting the flu. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds you that getting a flu shot now might keep your holidays from being miserable and more importantly, will help keep your loved ones safe from the flu as well.

“Not only does the flu vaccine protect the individual who receives it, it also reduces the chance of spreading the flu to those who may not yet have been vaccinated, including babies too young to receive a vaccination,” said Don Blose, chief, OSDH Immunization Service.

Blose noted it takes about two weeks to be fully protected from the flu after receiving a flu vaccination. “Now is the time to get the flu shot – before your holidays are ruined by a week of feeling lousy from the flu,” he urged.

Flu vaccine is available at local county health departments throughout the state. Everyone 6 months of age and older can be vaccinated. While there is a $25 fee, many persons, including seniors, may qualify for a fee waiver, including those who are on Medicare and do not belong to an HMO. Persons who are on SoonerCare and children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children program are eligible for fee waivers as well as others who may be eligible based on income. In addition, persons enrolled in HealthChoice and the Oklahoma Public Employees – Health and Welfare (OPEHW) insurance programs can present their insurance cards at county health departments and the fee for the vaccine will be billed back to those programs. If you have questions about whether you qualify for a fee waiver, call your local county health department.

“The day after Thanksgiving is one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Obtaining flu vaccine before you hit the stores so you don’t bring home the flu may be the best gift you give yourself and the most important gift you give your family,” Blose said.



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