When the crimson and cream and orange and black pom poms begin to flutter, many an Oklahoman's mind and heart is turned to football. Football season is also flu season, and time for Oklahoma residents and the rest of the nation to prepare for the upcoming influenza season by getting their flu vaccine.
Influenza Vaccine Availability in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma City/County Health Department and Tulsa County Health Department will begin providing flu shots on Monday, Oct.1. Cleveland County Health Department officially begins influenza vaccinations also on Oct. 1, but will do so in its Norman and Moore clinics on a walk-in basis on Fridays only, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some other county health departments, such as Cherokee County, have not yet received their supply of the vaccines, but will notify the community when they become available. Many pharmacies throughout the state also offer the flu vaccine.
Cost of Flu Shots
The cost of flu shots this year remain $25, except for the high-dose vaccine, which is $27. For individuals on Medicare or SoonerCare, or insurance that covers such preventive care, there is no charge.
The local health departments around the state also cover the flu vaccination fees for people whose income is 185 percent below the federal poverty level, for children who have no insurance or whose insurance doesn't cover the vaccine, children who are Native American or Alaskan natives, or people who are enrolled in HealthChoice or the Oklahoma Public Employees Health and Welfare plans, explained the Oklahoma State Department of Health. Cash, check or credit cards are acceptable forms of payment.
Those people with insurance or public assistance need to show their cards at time of service.
Who Should Get the Flu Shot?
Both the Oklahoma State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are advising that everyone age six months and older should receive the flu vaccine this year. If immunized last year against the flu, a flu shot this year is still needed. The influenza vaccine for the 2012-13 flu season contains protection against H1N1, as did last year's vaccine, but also provides protection against two other virus strains that are likely to be prevalent in this new season.
Pregnant women, health care workers, caregivers and family members in a household with an infant under six months old are strongly advised to take the flu vaccine. People with chronic illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, COPD, or heart disease should also get the vaccine.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.