, Muskogee, OK

October 25, 2012

1,500 flu doses prepared for this year’s free clinic

By Wendy Burton
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Muskogee’s 18th annual Boo on the Flu event is coming Friday, with 1,500 flu vaccines ready to go.

Oklahoma is reporting sporadic flu activity to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nationwide, the CDC says flu activity is still low for the season. Only one death nationwide has been reported so far this season.

However, the CDC recommends that everyone get the flu vaccine as early as possible, because it may take up to two weeks to become fully effective.

Boo on the Flu begins at 8 a.m. Friday at Honor Heights Park. The entrance is at Honor Heights Drive off Okmulgee Avenue this year.

The free shots will be administered first-come, first-served to people 18 and older. The staff cannot board buses or vans to administer the vaccine and all persons will be required to sign a consent form to receive the flu shot.

Dr. Ashley Gourd, a family practice physician with Muskogee Medical Associates, said the more people who get vaccinate, the better.

“People miss a lot of work with the flu and it’s highly contagious,” Gourd said. “And of course there’s the risk of hospitalization and even death with the flu. But you cannot get flu from the vaccine.”

Gourd said the shots can cause a small amount of pain or discomfort at the site of the injection, but shouldn’t have any serious side effects.

Those who are allergic to eggs should not take the vaccine, she said, and pregnant women can get the flu shot but should check with their obstetricians first.

Flu season begins in mid to late October and can run as late as May, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends everyone get the flu shot, especially those with chronic illnesses such as asthma.

Boo on the Flu is a collaborative event, sponsored by many organizations with the hospital’s assistance, said MRMC spokeswoman Christina Deidesheimer.

“The MRMC Auxiliary and the Muskogee Medical Foundation purchase the vaccine, and the City, Parks and Recreation, Muskogee County Emergency Medical Service and the health department do everything from donating the park to helping with crowd control to getting consents signed, as well as administering shots,” she said. “It is a collaborative effort that would fail without one of the partners.”

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or

If you go

WHAT: Boo on the Flu, a free drive-through flu vaccine clinic.

WHEN: 8 a.m. Friday.

WHERE: Honor Heights Park, main entrance off Honor Heights Drive.

ETC.: Free flu shots will be given to the first 1,500 people older than 18 who attend. The event ends at 4 p.m. or when all the flu shots are gone. All patients must sign a consent form.

INFORMATION: (918) 684-2363.