Hundreds of flu vaccine shots may be wasted in Oklahoma

Tuesday, December 7th 2004, 10:26 am
By: News On 6

You've heard about federal officials scrambling to find vaccines to prevent a major flu epidemic in the US.

You might be surprised to know, the state of Oklahoma has given nearly 25,000 of the lifesaving shots to other states. News on 6 anchor Tami Marler explains.

Oklahoma got 100% of our expected flu vaccine this year, but the state health department is putting such tight restrictions on "who gets it", there is a danger thousands of doses could go to waste.

Tulsa's Visiting Nurse Association has seen only a slow trickle of "at-risk" patients coming in for flu shots. Jan Guinn says they administered 60,000 shots to the general public last year, but state guidelines have held them to about 16,000 this year and "peak flu season" is just around the corner. Guinn says other states are happy to hear from them.

Tami Marler talked with state health officials Tuesday. They say they'll likely "relax" their guidelines by the end of the week, in order to get more Oklahomans vaccinated before flu season really breaks loose.

Health officials say it's not too late for "at-risk" people to get their flu shots.