Our clinics remain open today, however, there may be some delays due to outages. Our WIC offices are also still experiencing some delays so clients may experience longer than normal wait times to receive services at our locations.

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First Influenza-Associated Death in Tulsa County

TULSA, OK – [December 30, 2021] – The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) today reported the first influenza-associated death in Tulsa County for the 2021-2022 flu season. According to OSDH, there have been 238 influenza-associated hospitalizations and three influenza deaths statewide since September 1, 2021.  Fifty-five of those hospitalizations occurred among Tulsa County residents.

As the flu season continues along with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tulsa Health Department encourages all individuals six months and older to get a flu vaccination. The best prevention against the flu is to receive the vaccine. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu, make the illness less severe if you do get it and keep you from spreading the virus to family and other people.

“Getting a flu vaccine is more important than ever during this season to protect yourself, your family and your community from the flu,” said Tulsa Health Department Clinical Services Manager, Ellen Niemitalo. “A flu vaccine can lessen the severity of symptoms if you do become infected, which will also decrease the risk for hospitalization and death. A flu vaccine this season can also help reduce the burden on our healthcare systems responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and save medical resources for care of COVID-19 patients.” 

Influenza and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses.  Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing is needed to confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many similar symptoms. However, there are some key differences between the two. This table compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date from the CDC.

In addition to a seasonal flu vaccine, the Tulsa Health Department encourages all residents age five and older to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Residents who are fully vaccinated and at least 18 years old should receive a COVID-19 booster shot per CDC guidelines. Booster shots are also approved for teens age 16-17 years old. 

Residents can receive a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including a flu vaccine, at the same visit. Experience with other vaccines has shown that the way our bodies develop protection, known as an immune response, and possible side effects after getting vaccinated are generally the same when given alone or with other vaccines.

The flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine are available at the following Tulsa Health Department locations. Call 918-582-9355 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Masks are required to be worn in clinical areas by everyone 2 years and older. 

James O. Goodwin Health Center | 5051 S. 129 E. Ave., Tulsa, OK
Central Regional Health Center | 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK

Children through age 18 years are eligible to receive vaccines at no charge through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program if any of the following apply: they are uninsured, Medicaid eligible, Native American Indian, Native Alaskan, or their insurance policy does not cover vaccines. 

The Tulsa Health Department currently accepts Cigna, Community Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Choice, Medicare and SoonerCare Medicaid for immunizations. Coverage can vary among different insurance plans. Please bring your insurance card and photo ID with you. It is always advisable to check with your insurance provider for coverage specifics before receiving immunizations, as you may be responsible for charges that are not covered by your insurance policy.

Please visit www.tulsa-health.org/flu for more information about the flu, including flu vaccination clinic locations and hours of operation. THD is also offering a Tulsa County specific report based on OSDH’s weekly report found here: http://bit.ly/THDfludata. For information about all other Oklahoma counties’ flu programs, visit Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website at https://www.ok.gov/health/.

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