Tulsa Health Department's First 600 Doses Of H1N1 Vaccine Spoken For

Wednesday, October 14th 2009, 6:28 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The public is getting its first shot at the H1N1 vaccine. The Tulsa Health Department gave 600 doses to pregnant women and at-risk children on Wednesday.

The Tulsa Health Department says they're making sure the right people have access to the H1N1 vaccine.

Kids with health problems were given first priority at Wednesday's clinic. They became the first in the area to receive H1N1 injections. Until now, the vaccine has only been available in mist form, like the dose given to health care worker Samantha Sommerfield.

"See. You're all better? All better."

Her son became a reluctant recipient of the shot.

"Tough for him, but he got through it," said Sommerfield. "He got through it. He's just tired. But he got through it ok.  You get a shot? Nope, not gonna talk."

In addition to the at-risk children, pregnant women are also eligible for the vaccine. Expectant mother Christy Pollard says she waited patiently for her inoculation.

Related Story 10/8/2009: Sand Springs School Children Among First To Get H1N1 Vaccinations

"It's been a little bit of panic mode," Pollard said. "I just got here as soon as I could to get it to protect me and the baby."

While pregnancy is usually easy to prove, the Health Department is using the honor system for children.

Those suffering from conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease are eligible, but parents aren't being asked to provide proof of their child's condition.

"We don't question them on that," said Melanie Christian of the Tulsa Health Department. "We assume that they're doing the right thing. They're here for the right reason. They are getting their high-risk kid vaccinated."

Fortunately, this highly selective process should be temporary.  

Thousands of more doses of this vaccine continue to pour into the health department, so officials here do say it should be available to the general public by the end of the month.

But until then, it will be reserved for those officials say need it most, whether they like it or not.

The H1N1 clinic will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow and Friday. Area health care workers and a group of elementary students got the first doses of the vaccine last week.

The Health Department says it has not received any reports of side effects as a result of those vaccinations.

Melanie Christian, marketing director for the Tulsa Health Department, said the clinic gave 583 inoculations on Wednesday. She also said the health department is out of adult seasonal flu at this time but has a limited supply of pediatric seasonal flu vaccine.

They anticipate getting another shipment of the adult seasonal flu vaccine in November.

For more, go to the Tulsa Health Department web site.