Physicians and Health Agencies Encourage Flu Vaccination for All Oklahomans, Especially Youth
The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Oklahoma State Medical Association, Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Tulsa Health Department have joined efforts to increase awareness regarding influenza disease symptoms, complications and treatment; the importance of flu vaccination and other flu-prevention measures.
With many weeks of the flu season remaining, the number of flu-associated hospitalizations and deaths are expected to increase. Flu shots are encouraged for all individuals over the age of 6 months. Officials are encouraging the vaccine for youth who may be impacted more severely by flu symptoms. Children ages 6 months to 8 years old who have never had a flu vaccination will need two shots administered at least 28 days apart. Flu shots also are encouraged for those over the age of 65, those who have chronic heart and lung conditions and for pregnant women.
As part of the ongoing prevention efforts, county health departments around the state are offering increased access to flu vaccines the last week of January. In preparation for this flu season, county health departments received ample supplies of flu vaccine, including the Vaccines for Children (VFC), which are provided at no cost to children ages 18 and under who are eligible for Medicaid, Native American/Alaskan Native, or are uninsured or underinsured. Health departments and medical providers also have vaccines for all ages and the high-dose flu vaccine for those over the age of 65. Oklahomans who are not eligible for Medicaid can receive the flu vaccine at their county health department or physician’s office.
In effort to provide flu shots at a convenient time for families, the Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Tulsa Health Department will offer extended hours for the dates and locations listed below:
OKC-County Health Department
2600 NE 63rd
6728 S Hudson Ave.
Jan. 28 and 30, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Tulsa Health Department
James O. Goodwin Health Center
5051 S. 129th East Ave.
Jan. 30 – Clinic will remain open until 6 p.m.
Additionally, the OSDH and its partners are working to increase awareness about flu prevention and symptoms through social media and community outreach.
While the flu shot may not be 100 percent effective in preventing the flu, health and medical professionals say it offers the best protection and plays a vital role in reducing flu-associated hospitalizations and deaths. A study from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates the flu vaccination prevented 6.2 million illnesses, 3.2 million medical visits, 91,000 hospitalizations and 5,700 deaths during the 2017-2018 influenza season.
Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, fatigue and chills. In addition to getting the flu shot, it is important to practice frequent hand washing and prevent the spread of flu and other illnesses by staying home from public gatherings until one is able to go 24 hours without a fever, and without fever-reducing medication.
For more information about getting a flu shot, contact a health care provider or visit the OSDH website to find a county health department in your area.