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Health and Family Services Cabinet
Give Yourself the Gift of Health this Holiday Season

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, November 21, 2007  
Contact Information:  Gwenda Bond or Barbara Fox,
(502) 564-6786
 


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2007) – The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is asking Kentuckians to get an influenza vaccination during National Influenza Vaccination Week Nov. 26-Dec. 2, in an attempt to decrease sickness and death during the annual flu season.
      This week-long observation serves as a reminder to those people who have not yet received a flu vaccination that the time to get vaccinated continues into winter ― through January or later, when the influenza season typically peaks. Throughout the week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will highlight the importance of vaccination for those people at high risk, their close contacts, and all those who want to be protected against the flu.
      “The best way to commemorate this week is to get yourself and your loved ones vaccinated against the flu,” said William Hacker, M.D., commissioner of DPH and acting undersecretary for health at the Cabinet for Health and Family Services. “It is increasingly important to remind people to get vaccinated as we move into the months when people are most likely to become sick with flu.”
      National Influenza Vaccination Week is a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the CDC, the National Influenza Vaccine Summit and other immunization partners. Local health departments, public health partners and providers are encouraged to enhance vaccine availability by scheduling additional clinics, extending clinic hours and facilitating mass vaccination in retail and other locations during week and through the remainder of the influenza season.
Flu is responsible for approximately 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths a year in the United States. While it can be a serious disease, influenza is preventable. Infection with the flu virus can cause fever, headache, cough, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing and body aches, according to the CDC. Infants and the elderly are most at risk of serious illness, hospitalization or death from the flu.
 In addition to flu vaccine, DPH strongly encourages all adults 65 or older and others in high risk groups to ask their health care provider about the pneumococcal vaccine, which can help prevent a type of pneumonia, one of the flu’s most serious and potentially deadly complications.
       “The pneumococcal vaccine is extremely safe, effective, can be taken at any time of year and is currently available in an adequate supply,” Hacker said.
    For more information on National Influenza Vaccination Week or the availability of flu immunizations, please contact your local health department or visit DPH’s flu Web site at http://www.chfs.ky.gov/dph/epi/influenza.htm.
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Last Updated 11/21/2007