Northwest NEWS

October 15, 2001

Features

Public Health unveils 2001-2002 flu recommendations

KING COUNTY - Public Health - Seattle & King County recently launched its 2001-2 "flu" (influenza) Web pages with information on flu shots, vaccine availability, Public Health's Flu Surveillance Program, and recommendations for the general public, especially populations at high-risk of flu complications.
   For details, visit Public Health's new 2001-2 flu season Web pages at: http://www.metrokc.gov/health/immunization/fluseason.htm
  
   Flu shot availability and recommendations
   A portion of the flu vaccine supply will be delivered late this year, much like in the 2000-1 flu season. "We are asking health care providers to first vaccinate those individuals most at risk for complications from influenza, as well as their family members and health care workers," said Dr. Alonzo Plough, Director of Public Health - Seattle & King County.
   "People who are not in these high-risk groups should plan on getting their flu shot in late November or December," said Plough. "The influenza season in King County usually begins in January and lasts through spring, so there is plenty of time to develop protection from a flu shot even if you get vaccinated in December."
  
   High priority groups for the flu shot include:
   Everyone age 65 years and older;
   Anyone age six months and older who has asthma, chronic heart or lung disease, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease or immune suppression (including HIV infection);
   Children on long-term aspirin therapy;
   Pregnant women who will be at least 14 weeks pregnant during the influenza season;
   Family members of persons in the above groups;
   Health care workers with direct patient contact;
   Pneumococcal
   pneumonia vaccine
   "While you're getting your flu shot, it's also a good time to check with your provider to see if you should receive pneumococcal vaccine," said Betsy Hubbard, immunization coordinator for Public Health - Seattle & King County.
   Unlike the flu vaccine which should be administered yearly, most people only need one dose of pneumococcal vaccine in their lifetime, and this vaccine can be given anytime of the year.
   The pneumococcal vaccine is recommended for people over age 65, or those who have certain chronic illnesses or immune deficiencies, are residents of long-term care facilities, or are part of certain Native American/Alaskan Native populations. People should consult their doctor, nurse or clinic.
   Public Health's Influenza Surveillance Program
   The Influenza Surveillance Program by Public Health - Seattle & King County provides information on influenza activity in King County for health care providers and the public. Because influenza is not a reportable disease, Public Health - Seattle & King County uses several methods to understand when influenza has arrived, is most active, and subsides in our community. To receive periodic e-mails announcing when new materials and data are available on Public Health's 2001-2 flu season Web pages, subscribe to the Flu Season Notification System on www.metrokc.gov/health/immunization/fluseason.htm
   For more information, call (206) 296-4600 (voice/TDD).