Are you ready for a flu shot?
Payne County and Oklahoma State University health officials have received their shipments of seasonal flu vaccine and will begin flu shots this month.
Last week, the U.S. largest supplier of seasonal flu vaccine – Sanofi Pasteur – announced it was running behind on shipping those vaccines, partly because of the crunch to produce millions of doses of H1N1 vaccine.
University Health Service Director Steve Rogers and Payne County Health Department Administrative Director Annette O’Connor said they have enough seasonal flu vaccine on hand to begin inoculations.
Oklahoma State University will offer free flu shots to students Tuesday at the Starlight Terrace at the Student Union.
“It’s going to be a big push,” Rogers said. “We are encouraging all students to get flu shots.”
After Tuesday’s clinic, students can receive free flu shots at the University Health Services Center on campus, Rogers said. The shots will be available until the center’s supply is exhausted.
The Payne County Health Department’s community flu drive-in program will start at 6 a.m. Oct. 29 at the Stillwater Medical Center, O’Connor said.
The county health department has received 75 percent of its seasonal flu shot order and expects the rest in a few weeks, O’Connor said.
“We are OK as far as our needs,” she said.
O’Connor said she doesn’t know if private companies that are giving flu shots have experienced delays in getting their vaccines.
The H1N1 flu epidemic that hit Oklahoma State University in August and early September has waned, Rogers said. The university had more than 100 cases in the first few weeks of school.
“It’s been very slow the last three weeks,” Rogers said, noting H1N1 flu hit its peak on campus about five weeks ago.
H1N1 flu is commonly called swine flu.
Oklahoma State University will distribute swine flu shots when they become available. The university has been designated as a vaccination site for the H1N1 vaccine, Rogers said.
Payne County health officials have revised their H1N1 flu vaccine distribution plan – based on the type of vaccine they will receive first.
Payne County will get a limited shipment of novel H1N1 flu vaccine early this week, but the doses will be in the form of a nasal spray. The sprays are only approved for healty persons ages two to 49 who are not pregnant and don’t have underlying medical conditions.
Payne County will receive a limited supply of the nasal spray vaccine – approximately 400 doses, O’Connor said.
The first doses will be targeted to school-age children, she said. The Payne County Health Department will announce when it will offer an H1N1 vaccination clinic for healthy school-age children between 5 and 18 soon.
Some children and young adults have experienced mild reactions after receiving the nasal spray flu vaccine.
The side effects include a runny nose, nasal congestion and cough, chills, tiredness/weakness, sore throat and headache.
The reactions have been mild and don’t last long, State Epidemiologist Dr. Kristy Bradley said.
O’Connor said the nasal spray is “absolutely safe,” but contains the live virus.
She encourages people who have questions about the spray vaccine to call the Payne County Health Department at 405-372-8200.
Bradley said the early doses should go to schoolchildren because they will receive the biggest benefits.
Last week, two small southeast Oklahoma school districts closed because so many students had flu-like illnesses. Haworth Public Schools and McCurtain Public Schools closed Monday.
So far, public schools in Payne County have not experienced a high number of absentees caused by flu-lke symptoms, O’Connor said.
OSU starts Tuesday; Payne County Oct. 29
Are you ready for a flu shot?
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