December 17, 2003
HONOLULU - The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today
announced that an extremely limited supply of flu vaccine will be
available at designated locations for high-risk patients only beginning
Monday, December 22.
High-risk patients still in need of a flu shot should contact their
doctor. Doctors will pre-screen and provide high-risk patients with a
signed referral form and an appointment if flu vaccine is still
available. Patients without a signed
influenza form and an appointment will not be vaccinated.
Patients that fall into the high-risk groups for complications from
the flu are:
- Healthy children ages 6–23 months
- Adults ages > 65 years
- Pregnant women in their second or third trimester
- Persons ages > 2 years with underlying chronic
Healthy persons ages 5–49 years are encouraged to ask their
doctor for the nasal spray, called FluMist, a flu vaccine. If their
doctor does not have FluMist, patients can go to www.flumist.com to find a
provider who has the vaccine and is willing to vaccinate
Flu, or influenza, can be a serious disease. Over 114,000 people are
hospitalized and 36,000 people die each year in the United States from
the flu. Hawaii is currently seeing more cases than at the same time
last year due to an earlier than usual start to the season. However,
the activity level is still well below last year’s peak, which
was a mild flu season.
Although the flu vaccine is a good way to avoid getting the flu, in
the absence of vaccine, there are other ways to protect against flu.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick, wash your hands often,
and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Most people who get the
flu recover without complications, however, if you are in a high-risk
group or your illness is severe you may want to call your doctor. There
are antiviral medications that can be used to treat the flu.
For more information, contact:
Phone: (808) 586-4442
Laura M. Lott
Department of Health
Phone: (808) 586-4418