H1N1 Vaccines Arrive in Oklahoma, But The Vaccine Is Not for Everyone

Tuesday, October 6th 2009, 8:11 am
By: News On 6

NewsOn6.com & News9.com

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A vaccine for the H1N1 virus is in Oklahoma, but the first doses are a newly developed nasal spray that's not for everybody.

Many of the vaccines are already spoken for, it just depends on where you live. Each county health department across the state is receiving the vaccinations, and each one decides how to give it out.

Some health departments already have a plan, but others are still working on one. In Cleveland County, 1,600 doses of the H1N1 vaccine arrived Monday afternoon and already, they're spoken for.

“We knew we needed to target high risk groups that could take the mist and that's why we've targeted schools that have increasing rates of absenteeism in our counties,” said Shari Kinney with the Cleveland/McClain Counties Health Department.

With a student population of just more than 1,600, and with dozens out sick last week, Newcastle was picked to get the first shipment of H1N1 vaccines.

“We have been in the process of sending out permission slips today, consent forms we have posted that are on our website,” said Dr. Robert Everett, the Newcastle Schools Superintendent.

A number of doses are arriving this week at the Tulsa Health Department and many of those does will be headed to Limestone Elementary School in Sand Springs, because it has been impacted by the flu.

10/2/2009 Related story: H1N1 Vaccine Beginning To Arrive In Tulsa

Four thousand doses also arrived at the Oklahoma City County Health Department, but a plan to give it out isn't in place yet.

“We're working on a plan with our partners here in the Oklahoma City county area to distribute the vaccine and as soon as we have that plan finalized, we will be announcing the plan on how it will be distributed,” said H.R. Holman with the Oklahoma City County Health Department.

But at the county health department in Newcastle, it's all go. Newcastle students will be vaccinated this Wednesday and Thursday.

“This is a voluntary program. We are offering this to parents for their children and we hope they'll take the vaccine but is certainly not required,” Kinney said.

“Hopefully it will lead to a healthier winter for all of us that of course is better for everyone,” said Dr. Everett.

The H1N1 shots will be available later this month, in fact, it's predicted some could start arriving sometime next week.

10/5/2009 Related story: Oklahoma Health Department Activates H1N1 Hotline

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the FluMist is made of a live but weakened form of the virus, so it's only for healthy people ages 2 to 49.

It's not recommended for woman who are pregnant or anyone with underlying medical conditions such as asthma. Also, if you have an egg allergy, you need to wait for the shot.