Local county health departments and other health care providers in Oklahoma will begin offering seasonal flu vaccinations today. Almost everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is an effective way to prevent flu illness and another great tool for mitigating the impacts of COVID-19.
The CDC recommends a flu vaccine by the end of October, before flu begins spreading in the community. The flu vaccine can keep a person from getting the flu and make the illness less severe if a person gets it.
CDC has worked with vaccine manufacturers to have extra flu vaccine available this flu season, and Oklahoma will distribute 400,000 flu vaccine doses to ensure availability of an affordable or free flu shot this year.
During the last flu season, 3,580 Oklahoma residents were hospitalized because of flu-related illnesses — including 383 children under age four — and 85 Oklahomans died, including three children under age 17.
While flu vaccines will not prevent COVID-19, they will reduce the burden of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19.
Children through age 18 years are eligible to receive vaccines at no charge through the Vaccines for Children program if any of the following apply: they are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, Native American Indian, Native Alaskan, or their insurance policy does not cover vaccines. Free flu shots are available at health care providers enrolled in the VFC program, including all local county health departments and community health centers.
Uninsured adults may be able to get a flu shot at no out-of-pocket cost at most local county health departments and CHC across Oklahoma.
For more information, call (405) 271-7200 or visit fightflu.health.ok.gov.