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Leonard D. Ott
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Posted at 09:37 AM on Friday, October 26, 2007 by post6442WASHINGTON (October 25, 2007) - To safeguard the health of America's veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is urging all veterans, especially those enrolled in VA's health care system, to
receive flu vaccinations this season.
Walk-in clinics, even drive-in clinics for the vaccinations -- which are free for veterans enrolled in VA's health care system -- are being offered at many of VA's 153 hospitals and more than 900 outpatient
clinics. Veterans should check with their nearest VA health care facility to learn about local vaccination programs.
"Vaccination is a simple way of preventing serious health care problems, especially among the elderly, those with compromised immune systems and veterans with spinal cord injuries," said Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gordon H. Mansfield. "Part of VA's world-class health care service is ensuring veterans get their flu shots."
Veterans should discuss flu vaccinations with their primary health care provider. Physicians recommend flu vaccinations for pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, those at least 50 years of age, patients in long-term care facilities, and people who live with those at high risk for complications from flu.
A recent study by Dr. Kristin Nichol, a nationally recognized expert on the flu and chief of medicine at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, found dramatic reductions in deaths and sickness after getting a flu
shot. Vaccination reduced hospitalizations for pneumonia or influenza by 27 per cent, and there was a 48 per cent reduction in deaths.
In addition to information about flu vaccines available in VA's medical centers and clinics, VA maintains information for consumers on its Web site at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov