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Due to the shortage of vaccine, the Town of Oyster Bay is canceling the 2004 Flu & Pneumonia Immunization Program, according to Bruce E. Foley, Commissioner of the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Community & Youth Services, which coordinates the program.

The Town of Oyster Bay relies on Nassau County to supply the vaccine. The Nassau County Department of Health has informed the Town that because of the shortage, it is not able to obtain the vaccine at this time. The Department of Health is working with health care providers and medical organizations to try to assure that any influenza vaccine currently available in Nassau County is provided to those residents at high risk and to assure that if additional supplies of vaccine become available, they will be directed to those providers and organizations that need it most. Health care providers and organizations that have an existing supply of vaccine have been asked to follow the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for those who should be vaccinated.

The Town of Oyster Bay programs had been scheduled for Saturday, November 6, at Plainview Middle School; Saturday, November 20, at Massapequa High School; and Wednesday, November 24, at the Glen Head Community Center.

The Nassau County Department of Health has offered recommendations on how residents can protect themselves against the flu and pneumonia. To stop the spread of germs, everyone should:

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.

Stay home when you are sick. Staying home from work, school and errands when sick will help prevent others from catching your illness.

Cover your cough or sneeze. Covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing may prevent those around you from getting sick.

Clean your hands. Washing your hands frequently, particularly after coughing and sneezing, will help protect you and others from germs.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle including getting plenty of sleep, engaging in physical activity, managing stress, drinking plenty of water, eating nutritious food and avoiding tobacco use or exposure to tobacco smoke.

If additional supplies of vaccine become available, Nassau County hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, medical societies and their physicians, and the County Departments of Health and Senior Citizen Affairs will continue to work together to ensure that the vaccine will be administered to those identified by the CDC as priority groups for vaccination.

Seniors who need a pneumonia shot should contact their health care provider. For further information about the flu vaccine, call the Nassau County Department of Health Information Line, 571-2500, or visit the department's website, www.co.nassau.ny.us/health/index.html.


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