Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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Oct. 6, 2004

Oswego County Health Department Recommends Flu Vaccine for High Risk Groups Only

Because of the nationwide shortage of flu vaccine, the Oswego County Health Department is recommending that only persons in the high risk group receive a flu vaccine this year.

"Persons who are not included in one of the priority groups are asked to forego or defer vaccination this year," said Kathleen Smith, Commissioner of Health for Oswego County.

On Tuesday, Oct. 5, the Health Department was notified by State and Federal agencies that none of the flu vaccine produced by Chiron Corporation would be available for distribution for the 2004-05 influenza season. The county had ordered over 4,600 doses of the vaccine that was manufactured by Chiron.

"We are taking steps to order flu vaccine from other manufacturers, and we are on a waiting list to obtain additional doses," said Commissioner Smith.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC), in coordination with its Advisory Committee for Immunization Practice (ACIP), has issued the following interim recommendation for those who should receive an influenza vaccination during the 2004-05 season:

  • All children aged 6-23 months of age;
  • Adults aged 65 years and older;
  • Persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions;
  • All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season;
  • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities;
  • Children aged 6 months-18 years on chronic aspirin therapy;
  • Health-care workers involved in direct patient care; and
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under age six months.
  • All children in priority groups should be vaccinated with a first or second dose, depending on vaccination status. However, doses should not be held in reserve to ensure that two doses will be available for children not previously vaccinated.

Commissioner Smith reminds residents that there are proven strategies for preventing the spread of germs that may cause the flu:

  • Wash your hands often;
  • Use tissues to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough and throw them away;
  • Do not touch your face especially after you sneeze or cough. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Stay away from crowds when people in your community have the flu; and
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

"The Oswego County Health Department will continue to work with state and federal health officials, as well as local healthcare providers in an effort to protect residents that fall into priority groups," stated Smith.

Health Department flu clinics will be listed in local newspapers when vaccine is available. Residents are encouraged to watch for clinic announcements, contact their healthcare providers about availability of vaccine, or contact the Health Department at (315) 349-3547 or 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3547 with questions.

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