The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will offer flu vaccine statewide beginning Monday, Oct. 1 at all county health department locations. Flu shots will be provided at no out-of-pocket cost to recipients. Those with insurance are asked to provide their card showing coverage.
Flu vaccination is recommended each year for everyone 6 months of age and older. When more people are vaccinated against the flu, there is less opportunity for flu to spread in families, schools and communities. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with flu viruses as they change. Also a yearly flu shot is needed because a person’s immune protection from being vaccinated decreases after a year, and yearly vaccination provides the best protection against the flu through the entire flu season.
OSDH Interim Commissioner Tom Bates will help kickoff the effort by getting his immunization at the Rogers County Health Department in Claremore next Wednesday morning, October 3.
“We are encouraging everyone to get their flu vaccination and we hope this effort to provide the shots at no out-of-pocket cost to recipients will make it more accessible,” said Bates. “The last season was especially devastating and we want to ensure that as many people as possible can receive the added protection that the flu vaccine provides.”
Last flu season there were 291 deaths and 4,819 hospitalizations between September 2017 and May 2018.
In addition to getting a flu shot, public health officials recommend the following prevention tips:
Adopt a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and getting a full night’s rest.
Wash hands frequently using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
Use tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then dispose of them and wash your hands immediately. When tissues are not readily available, cough into your sleeve, not your hands.
Stay home from work, school and other public places when feeling ill.
Oklahoma County and Tulsa County residents should check with their city-county health departments to find out when flu clinics will be available.