Tulsa Health Department Offers Flu Vaccines Beginning October 1 by Appointment Only
The Tulsa Health Department began offering seasonal flu vaccinations on October 1 by appointment only. Health officials remind residents that getting vaccinated against the flu every year is the single best way to prevent the flu. The flu vaccine can keep individuals from getting the flu, making the illness less severe if one does get it, and keep individuals from spreading the virus to family and other people.
It is recommended that all individuals over the age of six months be vaccinated against the flu this year. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu – including older people, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications.
“We want everyone to do as much as they can to prevent flu-associated hospitalizations and deaths in Tulsa County,” said Priscilla Haynes, Tulsa Health Department Division Chief of Preventive Health. “During the last flu season, Tulsa County residents experienced 866 flu-related hospitalizations and 16 flu-related deaths. Taking steps to prevent the flu will allow our health care systems to concentrate its efforts and have room to treat all illnesses including COVID-19.”
Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses and COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2). Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two. While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it.
The quadrivalent flu vaccine will be available beginning Oct. 1 on an appointment basis at the following Tulsa Health Department locations. Call 918-582-9355 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Masks are required to be worn and clients will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival.
• James O. Goodwin Health Center | 5051 S. 129 E. Ave., Tulsa, OK
• Central Regional Health Center | 315 S. Utica, Tulsa, OK
• North Regional Health and Wellness Center | 5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Tulsa OK
• Collinsville Community Health Center | 1201 W. Center, Collinsville, OK
• Sand Springs Health Center | 306 E. Broadway, Sand Springs, OK
Most individuals will not incur an out-of-pocket cost for the vaccine. The following payment options are available:
Children through age 18 years are eligible to receive vaccines at no charge through the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program if any of the following apply: they are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, Native American Indian, Native Alaskan, or their insurance policy does not cover vaccines.
THD currently accepts Cigna, Community Care, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Health Choice, Medicare and SoonerCare Medicaid for immunizations. Coverage can vary among different insurance plans. Take your insurance card and photo ID with you. It is always advisable to check with your insurance provider for coverage specifics before receiving immunizations, as you may be responsible for charges that are not covered by your insurance policy.
Regular injectable flu vaccine and flu mist cost $25. High dose flu vaccine cost $63. The cost for regular flu vaccine may be waived for uninsured adults who qualify.
“It is possible have flu, as well as other respiratory illnesses, and COVID-19 at the same time,” added Haynes. “Flu and COVID-19 can both result in serious illness, including illness resulting in hospitalization or death. The flu vaccine can keep you from getting the flu, make the illness less severe if you do get it and keep you from spreading the virus to family and other people. That’s one important step toward protecting you and your family.”
In addition to getting your flu shot, the Tulsa Health Department reminds you to follow these prevention tips:
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Outside your home, put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
Stay home from work, school, and other public places if you are ill. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Make “respiratory hygiene” a habit, including use of tissues to cover coughs and sneezes, then disposing of them and washing hands at once. When tissues are not readily available, use your sleeve, never your hands.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.
Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of respiratory illness and take your temperature if symptoms develop. Call your health care provider for advice if you are experiencing symptoms.
For more information, call 918-582-9355 or visit www.tulsa-health.org/flu. For information about all other Oklahoma counties’ flu programs, visit Oklahoma State Department of Health’s website at https://www.ok.gov/health/.
Tulsa Health Department
Since its establishment in 1950, the Tulsa Health Department serves as the primary public health agency to more than 600,000 Tulsa County residents, including 13 municipalities and four unincorporated areas.
The agency is one of two autonomous local health departments in Oklahoma, with statutory public health jurisdiction throughout Tulsa County and the City of Tulsa. THD’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Tulsa County residents, in order to make Tulsa County the healthiest county in the country. THD was among the first health departments in the U.S. to receive national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board.
For more information, visit www.tulsa-health.org.