DHS news release
Nov. 26, 2007
General contact: Bonnie Widerburg, 971-673-1282
Program contact: Martha Skiles, 971-673-0304
Health officials urge flu vaccinations, say children need them too
Oregon public health officials this week are renewing their push to get both adults and children vaccinated against influenza.
"A flu shot or nasal spray is an easy way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the misery of flu," said Lorraine Duncan, immunization manager in the Oregon Department of Human Services. "It prevents you from infecting others, which is important if you have close contact with people for whom the flu might be especially dangerous such as the elderly, people with a chronic illness, and infants or young children."
Oregon received a record number of 1.25 million doses of flu vaccine this fall.
"There is plenty of vaccine available, and influenza season typically doesn't peak until February," Duncan said. "Getting vaccinated in November or December and even beyond will offer protection from the flu."
Duncan stressed that it's important for children and those who have close contact with them to get vaccinated. Each year, more than 20,000 children under age 5 nationally are hospitalized as a result of influenza.
The nasal spray vaccine FluMist is a good alternative to the injectable vaccine for anyone who is healthy and between ages of 2 and 49. This September the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved FluMist for use in healthy children as young as 2 years; previously it was limited to youngsters age 5 and older. However, noted Duncan, not all insurance plans cover FluMist and in some cases it may be more expensive than the injectable vaccine.
Influenza is characterized by abrupt onset of high fever, headache, sore throat, cough and muscle aches. Unlike other common respiratory illnesses, it is associated with extreme fatigue and loss of appetite lasting several days
Nov. 26 through Dec. 2 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, with Tuesday set aside as Children's Flu Vaccination Day. Vaccine is readily available and information on vaccination clinic locations and date can be found at the American Lung Association's Flu Clinic Locator Web site or by calling 800-SAFENET.