Who Gets The First Doses Of The Swine Flu Vaccine In Tulsa Co?
Though seasonal flu vaccines are plentiful, swine flu vaccines are in limited supply.
The first doses of H1N1 vaccines will go to health care workers who deal with flu patients.
Limestone Elementary, a Sand Springs school that has been hit hard by the swine flu, will also receive doses.
By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The first doses of vaccine for the swine flu, some 3,400 doses, arrived in Tulsa on Tuesday, but it's not going out to the public. Who gets the vaccine and when?
The Tulsa Health Department plans to distribute all of it to hospitals, with priority for workers in emergency rooms, intensive care and pediatrics. It won't be available for the general public anytime soon.
While there's a plentiful supply of flu vaccine, it's not the vaccine for "swine" flu. County health departments are giving out injections for the seasonal flu. It's available at health departments for anyone, at no cost.
Private clinics have the vaccine as well, but can charge a fee.
The first doses of the H1N1 vaccine arrived in Oklahoma this week - but it's a very limited supply. In Tulsa, the vaccine is only available for hospital workers who treat patients with the flu.
"Initially we're going to get a small supply and it's going to come in incrementally so we had to identify the priority areas and right now that's healthcare providers," said Reggie Ivey, Tulsa County Health Department.
After hospital workers are vaccinated, and the supply increases, doses will be available for the public based on risk of infection.
"Then we'll expand that to children who have an underlying illness who might be at risk if they get the flu, and then we're going to be looking at pregnant women, that sort of thing," Ivey said.
The first doses available in Tulsa County, outside of hospitals, will be at Limestone Elementary School in Sand Springs. The school experienced an unusually large outbreak of swine flu and the county health department plans to vaccinate the healthy students there Thursday.
For school children, and everyone, health officials continue to stress the best protection against any kind of flu - is frequent hand washing.
It's important to use soap and warm water and wash for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer works too if soap and water isn't available.
The other counties outside of Tulsa are distributing their supply of vaccine in different ways.
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