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Oklahoma City Thunder Point Guard Russell Westbrook and NBA Legend Bob Lanier Join Vaccines for Teens Educational Campaign to Urge Local Teens to Take Their Best Shot at Health
Date:12/16/2010

t meningococcal disease and pertussis.

Adolescent immunization in Oklahoma City is a very important community health issue. With seasonal influenza currently circulating in the area, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department is encouraging preteens and teens to be vaccinated against the virus.  Since September 1, 2010, there have been 13 hospitalizations and one death attributed to influenza in Oklahoma. Between 27,226 and 108,907 Oklahoma City area residents suffer from influenza annually, yet immunization rates fall short each year.

In addition, the Oklahoma State Department of Health recently updated the state immunization requirements. Beginning next year, students entering seventh grade will be required to receive a booster shot of the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis) vaccine to help protect against whooping cough. Meningococcal disease cases also peak in December and January.  Since January 1, 2010, 15 cases of meningococcal invasive disease were reported in Oklahoma, reinforcing that it is a crucial time for Oklahoma City parents to have their children vaccinated against these potentially deadly diseases.

"With teens in such close contact in classrooms and on school sports teams, these infectious diseases can spread easily from student to student," said Philip J. Rettig, MD of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.  "Vaccination is a safe and effective way to help teens stay protected, yet immunization rates remain low in this population."

Teens and their parents can learn more about risk factors for getting sick with vaccine-preventable diseases, and the benefits of vaccination, by visiting www.vaccinesforteens.net.

About Vaccine-preventable Adolescent Diseases Immunization is critically important for adolescents because they are at risk for serious and potentially life-threatening diseases.

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SOURCE Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine
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