H1N1 Vaccinations Begin in Oklahoma
Staff and Wire Reports
OKLAHOMA CITY -- H1N1 vaccinations are under way in Oklahoma after the first shipments of the vaccine arrived at county health departments.
Oklahoma initially was allotted 21,100 doses of the vaccine but more is anticipated to arrive in the state during the coming weeks. Every county health department will determine on its own how to give out the vaccine.
Officials will begin giving out the first doses of the nasal spray in the Newcastle school district. The Cleveland County health department allotted the first 1,600 does to the district since it has been hit hard by the flu virus, said Shari Kinney with the Cleveland and McClain counties health department.
"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," Kinney said.
Pontotoc, Pittsburg, Atoka, Coal and Kay Counties also are hosting clinics for school aged children, Pre-K through the 12th grade. Vaccines are available at each county's health department.
Oklahoma City has the largest health department in the state and received the most doses. The Oklahoma County Health Department received 4,100 does on Monday, and officials said they have finalized distribution plans.
Since teenagers are among those considered most at risk, Oklahoma County Health Department officials said they have decided to target schools first.
"We're working with several different schools right now. Due to the quantity, the small quantity, we've received so far, we'll have to see who's willing to take it," said H. R. Holman with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.
Holman said health care workers also will be getting the vaccine, which will be in the form of a nasal spray.
"Right now there are no flu clinics planned by the health department. It will all be distributed through partners various agencies like doctors, emergency response and those folks," Holman said.
Oklahoma County Health Department officials said they hope to give out the vaccine by the end of the week.