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Where Do I Get Answers About H1N1 Vaccines In Tulsa?

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Each week the CDC sends out guidelines to local health departments to determine who qualifies for the available H1N1 vaccine. Each week the CDC sends out guidelines to local health departments to determine who qualifies for the available H1N1 vaccine.
Chances are you will be exposed to the swine flu, according to Tulsa health officials. Chances are you will be exposed to the swine flu, according to Tulsa health officials.
Current vaccines are being given to children from 6 months to 18 years, pregnant women and health workers. Current vaccines are being given to children from 6 months to 18 years, pregnant women and health workers.

By Tara Vreeland, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The short supply of the H1N1 vaccine left one Broken Arrow mother frustrated when she says the Health Department turned her children away.

"I have three year old twins, both with asthma, both attend daycare with other school aged children, isn't that high risk enough?" Vonda asked.

The Tulsa County Health Department uses Centers for Disease Control guidelines to determine who gets the vaccine, and those guidelines change weekly.

The H1N1 vaccine was only available in nasal spray form the first week. That was given to healthy people. Last week, the vaccination scope was broadened to pregnant women and at-risk children.

And this week, the CDC directed the Health Department to target school-aged children.

Related Story 10/23/2009: Oklahoma Officials Say 13 Deaths Attributed To Swine Flu

"We went to six schools this week and vaccinated over a 1,000 kids, maybe closer to 2,000 children," said Melanie Christian with the Tulsa Health Department.

The Tulsa Health Department says the H1N1 is the primary concern and is still the only flu strain going around the country.

"Your chances of being exposed to it are pretty good," Christian said.

But due to the vaccine's limited supply - and high demand -

"We really don't know how much we get until it actually arrives on our doorstep," Christian said.

Who gets the shot is determined on a week-by-week basis.

"The challenge is first off, we do have limited vaccines that we are receiving so we are focusing on those highest risk for complications from the flu as best we can," said Melanie Christian with the Tulsa Health Department.

The Tulsa Health Department is getting about 3,000 doses next week. The focus will still be on school-aged children. Nurses will be sent to schools to administer the vaccinations. The school sites are currently being contacted.

The Tulsa Health Department anticipates offering a walk-in clinic late next week to certain individuals, and more clinics will pop up as additional supplies become available.

It will focus on these priority categories:

  • All children ages 6 months to 18 years.
  • Pregnant women.
  • Frontline healthcare workers with direct patient contact to the acutely ill.
  • Custodial parents of infants less than 6 months of age.

The best way to find out about the supply availability and changes is to call the flu hotline at 918-595-4500 for recorded information about the vaccine each week.

People can speak to a live person during regular business hours Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by calling 918-582-WELL (9355).

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