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

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Nov. 3, 2004

Oswego County Flu Vaccine Will be Distributed to Local Nursing Homes and Physicians

The Oswego County Health Department has received a limited supply of flu vaccine this week from the New York State Department of Health and Aventis Pasteur, a flu-shot manufacturer. In order to make sure that those at highest risk from the flu are vaccinated first, the Health Department will distribute its supply to local nursing homes and physicians for their high-risk patients.

"At this time the department is unable to provide flu-shot clinics in Oswego County," said Commissioner of Health Services Kathleen Smith. "The limited allocation that we have received from New York State and Aventis Pasteur will be distributed to physicians who responded to our surveys and to local nursing homes, based on the greatest need and highest risk patients."

Physicians will be asked to allocate their supply to those patients who are most likely to suffer the worst consequences if they become sick with the flu.

"The amount of vaccine the State Health Department is shipping out is helpful, but it is limited," said Smith. "If you are someone who is in a priority group for vaccination, please continue to seek a flu shot from your physician. You may need to be patient as well as persistent."

The flu-shot is recommended for children and adults with chronic health conditions such as asthma and immune-deficiency conditions, pregnant women, and people over age 65.

"We will reassess our allocation if additional supplies become available," said Smith.

The flu-shot is also recommended for young children ages six months through 23 months. Shipments of pediatric flu vaccine were delayed in October, but health officials expect that pediatricians will receive enough supplies this fall for their high-risk patients.

Dr. Dennis Norfleet, Oswego County Medical Director, said it is important to remember that most people who are healthy will not get seriously ill with the flu. "Flu is unpleasant, but it is usually not life-threatening for most people," he said.

To help prevent the spread flu, Dr. Norfleet advises people to:

  • Wash your hands often;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with tissues when you sneeze and cough;
  • Stay away from crowds when you are sick and when there is flu in the community;
  • Keep sick children home from school;
  • Adults should not go to work when they are sick; and
  • Do not visit hospitals and nursing homes if you have flu and cold symptoms.

Flu symptoms include high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, and muscle aches. People who experience these symptoms should contact their health care provider.

Oswego County residents may call the county health department's flu-shot hotline at 349-3545 to find out the latest information regarding the flu vaccine. The hotline will be updated with new developments regarding flu-shot availability. Toll-free, call 1-800-596-3200, ext. 3545.

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