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Flu Claims the Life of One Tulsa County Resident

TULSA, OK – [October 31, 2019] – The Oklahoma State Department of Health today reported the first influenza-associated death in Tulsa County for the 2019-2020 flu season. This is also the first death in the state of Oklahoma so far this season. According to OSDH, there have been 53 influenza-associated hospitalizations statewide since September 1, 2019.  Sixteen of those hospitalizations occurred in Tulsa County. 

As the flu season continues, 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.

“Anyone can get the flu, but some people are at greater risk for severe complications that could result in hospitalization or even death. This underscores the importance of preventive measures like a seasonal flu vaccine. Individuals who receive the flu vaccine are not only protecting themselves but also those around them, including babies too young to receive a vaccination,” said Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “Now is the time to get your flu vaccination as it can take two weeks to become fully protected.” 

The flu vaccine is available to anyone over the age of six months on a walk-in basis Mondays through Thursdays from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Fridays from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the following Tulsa Health Department locations:

James O. Goodwin Health Center | 5051 S. 129 E. Ave., Tulsa, OK
Central Regional Health Center | 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK
North Regional Health and Wellness Center | 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tulsa OK   

The flu vaccine will also be offered at these locations: 

Collinsville Community Health Center | 1201 W. Center, Collinsville, OK 
Call (918) 582-9355 clinic dates and times 
Sand Springs Health Center | 306 E. Broadway, Sand Springs, OK 
Call (918) 582-9355 clinic dates and times

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.

Regular injectable flu vaccine and flu mist will cost $25.  High dose flu vaccine will cost $63.   The cost for regular flu vaccine may be waived for uninsured adults who qualify. The 2019-2020 seasonal flu vaccination requires only one shot for most individuals. Children under age nine who have not received two flu immunizations before July 1, 2019 will need a second dose at least four weeks after receiving the first dose. 

The vaccine is recommended for everyone over six months of age. Persons at high risk of serious complications from flu are strongly recommended to get the flu vaccine, including children younger than 5, adults age 65 and over, pregnant women and those with asthma, diabetes, or other chronic conditions. Parents and family members of babies less than 6 months of age and people who live with or care for anyone at high risk for complications from the flu, including health care workers, should also get the vaccine.  

In addition to getting your flu shot, the Tulsa Health Department reminds you to follow these prevention tips:

Frequent hand washing using soap and water, or alcohol-based products such as hand gels when hands are not visibly soiled.
Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and washing hands at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands.
Stay home from work, school, and other public places if you are ill. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health report, the 2018-2019 flu season resulted in 87 deaths and 3,007 hospitalizations to Oklahomans. Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Flu is caused by influenza viruses, and is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Anyone can get flu. Flu strikes suddenly and can last several days. Symptoms vary by age, but can include: fever/chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are examples of complications from flu. If you have a medical condition, such as heart or lung disease, flu can make it worse. Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. 

Please visit our flu page for more information, 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:

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