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Parents Get Peace Of Mind At H1N1 Vaccination Blitz

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The clinic provided Green Country residents with 2,381 vaccinations. The clinic provided Green Country residents with 2,381 vaccinations.
Tulsa Health Department was one of many that held H1N1 vaccination clinics in the state-wide vaccination blitz. Tulsa Health Department was one of many that held H1N1 vaccination clinics in the state-wide vaccination blitz.

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Thousands of people in Green Country turned out Saturday for a 'vaccination blitz,' a state-wide effort to bring the H1N1 vaccination to more people.  Many temporary clinics were set up inside courthouses, high schools, even barns in several different communities across Green Country.

Expo Square was the busiest clinic site in the Tulsa area with thousands of people standing in line to get free shots.

Of course, there were a lot of nervous parents, and a lot of crying children.

The line stretched hundreds of yards, snaking nearly all the way around Expo Square. Once you got inside, there were more lines – and paperwork.  But parents say you can't put a time limit on safety. 

“This is my only son. So I really cherish him,” said parent Aric Thorpe.

Related Story 11/04/2009: Saturday H1N1 Vaccination Blitz Locations Announced

Aric Thorpe came with his two-year-old son. Neither was looking forward to the shot, but Thorpe says he knows how bad H1N1 can be.

“I have a cousin whose best friend died a couple weeks ago from the swine flu, Thorpe said. “So it kinda added to the fuel, to my desire to do it.”

Eleven-year-old Anthony Harris has asthma and needs the vaccine to protect him during flu season. He was nervous, right until the very end. 

Tulsa's clinic provided more than 2,300 vaccines. Saturday's blitz was the first time the vaccine was offered to adults with health conditions, like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.

“We simply ask a person, ‘do you fall into one of these categories?’ If they say yes, then we hand them a form to vaccinated, said Melanie Christian, Tulsa Health Department.

At other blitz locations, the crowds were consistent, if not jam-packed. Osage County Health workers vaccinated 600 people at a barn in Skiatook.

“People were here at 6 o'clock, and we opened at nine,” said Mary Beth Murray of the Osage County Health Department.

Most kids cried, but parent after parent offered up some sort of bribe.

“I made a McDonald's lunch promise to help out,” said Amanda Seibolt, a Tulsa mom.

For the little ones: some tasty French fries after a tough day. For mom and dad, a little peace of mind.

Priority groups for the H1N1 vaccine include:

  • All children ages 6 months to 18 years
  • Pregnant women
  • Custodial parents of infants less than 6 months of age
  • Front-line health care workers who have direct patient contact with acutely ill persons
  • Adults 19 - 64 years of age with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma & other chronic lung disease, chronic heart disease, cancer, and other conditions that suppress the immune system.

The next walk-in H1N1 vaccination clinic will be from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, November 12 at The Church at Battlecreek, 3025 N. Aspen Avenue in Broken Arrow

Details can be found on THD's web site at www.Tulsa-health.org.

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