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Is the H1N1 Flu Threat In Oklahoma Really Over?

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Forty Oklahomans died from the H1N1 flu. Forty Oklahomans died from the H1N1 flu.
Earlier in the flu season, lines were long for the H1N1 vaccine. Earlier in the flu season, lines were long for the H1N1 vaccine.
Health Department officials say it's important for children to receive the second dose of the vaccine. Health Department officials say it's important for children to receive the second dose of the vaccine.

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Just a handful of people were hospitalized last week from H1N1, and the wave of fear accompanying the virus earlier this season is all but gone.

But is the H1N1 threat truly over?

One in five Americans have been vaccinated against H1N1, and all told, more than 40 percent of the public has developed some level of immunity to the virus.

Lines stretched for hundreds of yards earlier in the flu season. Families weaved through a maze of paperwork, nylon ropes, and crying children - all for protection against H1N1.

"The lines are pretty short these days," said Melanie Christian of the Tulsa Health Department. "We're only giving about 200 a day, compared to back in the height of it, when we were giving about 2,000 a day.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control reported that H1N1 has made 57 million Americans sick. More than a quarter of a million people have been hospitalized and nearly 11,700 died.

H1N1 cases peaked in October and have dropped off ever since. It has not been widespread in any state for more than a month.

"We have seen a pretty dramatic drop-off of our H1N1 cases in the Tulsa area, and statewide," Christian said.

In Oklahoma, 40 people died from H1N1. Ten of them were from Tulsa County. Health Department officials say the virus is still floating around.

"We do have concerns, particularly for children who are 9 and under who have not received their second dose of the H1N1 vaccine," said Melanie Christian of the Tulsa Health Department.

Christian said more than 100,000 people have been vaccinated in Tulsa County alone, but she said perhaps the biggest reason the worst is over is because so many people got H1N1 and recovered, thereby developing immunity from the virus. 

Certain Drug Warehouses and Med-X pharmacies are giving free vaccines, and the Tulsa Health Department is still offering both the seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine free of charge.

Free H1N1 vaccination clinics:

Monday, February 15, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Med-X, 4423 Southwest Boulevard
Friday, February 19, 1 to 4 p.m. at Med-X, 1714 Utica Square
Monday, February 22, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Drug Warehouse, 714 West Main Street
Friday, February 26, 1 to 4 p.m., Med-X at 4016 S. Highway 97 in Sand Springs

 

 

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