Flu vaccine no problem says Tulsa Co. Health Department

Wednesday, September 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Flu season is just around the corner. There's word around the country this week that there won't be enough anti-flu vaccine to go around this year. Oklahoma state health officials say we'll have plenty of the vaccine, although some of the flu supplies will be a little late in arriving. The rumors have left many people wondering if they'll be able to get an inoculation. In Tulsa, flu shots are already being administered, and more supplies are expected to arrive in plenty of time to combat the flu season.

Jin Jin Paine's mother wanted to combat the flu bug before it bit her 6-year-old daughter. Mrs. Paine saw the banner outside Pic-Med, and jumped at the chance to get her daughter a flu shot. “I had heard that there's very few flu shots available and that the health department can't get any vaccinations," Paine said.

The Centers for Disease Control says four out of the five manufacturers who produce the anti-flu vaccine are running behind in growing one of the required flu strains necessary in the vaccine. Due to thedelay, shipments of the vaccine are expected to be about two weeks late to the Tulsa County Health Department. However, health department officials say that should be in time to fend off the flu. “We will start doing our flu shots about the same time as we always do them," said health department spokesperson Janice Dotson.

The health department usually gives out the vaccine in late October or early November. This vaccine is administered in time to fight the influenza peak in January. Flu experts say the delay shouldn't pose a health problem. However, they do say the U-S is overdue for a flu epidemic. Health officials say it's been 50 years since a pandemic of the flu struck the U-S population. A pandemic is a new flu strain that strikes unexpectedly. It results in a widespread flu epidemic, because there's no vaccine to fight against it.

No one can say for sure if this flu season will be a bad one, but hundreds of Tulsans aren't taking any chances. “I'm saying we've had close to 500 shots that have come into the clinic Tuesday," said Pic-Med medical director Clara Coualston.

The health department recommends that the following people receive the flu inoculation:

  • People over age 50

  • People with long-term health problems

  • Anyone with a weakened immune system