MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

October 5, 2013

Flu vaccinations begin at health department


— The Muskogee County Health Department seasonal influenza vaccination clinics will begin Monday, according to a media release from Muskogee County Health Department Administrative Director William Pierson.

Flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months of age and older. Several new flu vaccines are available this year including quadrivalent flu vaccines and a vaccine made without using eggs, along with the familiar three-strain (trivalent) injectable flu shot. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who are being vaccinated for the first time will need two doses of vaccine separated by four weeks.

Persons at high risk of complications from flu are strongly encouraged to get the vaccine. This includes pregnant women, people with asthma, diabetes, chronic heart and lung disease, or other chronic conditions, and all children younger than 5 years of age. Because infants younger than 6 months cannot get influenza vaccine, they are at high risk of serious complications and hospitalization if they get influenza. The best way to protect them is to be sure everyone around them is vaccinated and for pregnant women to be vaccinated. Infants born to vaccinated women are protected against flu for the first six months of their lives.

Flu vaccine is also strongly recommended for anyone who lives with or cares for people at high risk from flu complications.

Muskogee County Health Department’s clinic days and times will be: Walk-in 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 1 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Muskogee County Health Department will have the following types of flu vaccine available:

• Traditional three-strain injectable flu vaccine

• Quadrivalent (four-strain) injectable flu vaccine

• Nasal spray flu vaccine for people ages 2 through 49 years who are not at high risk of complications from flu and who are not pregnant

• High-dose flu vaccine, an injectable vaccine for persons age 65 years and older. This vaccine will contain three strains of flu.

People who are allergic to eggs should see their family health care provider for a flu vaccine made without using eggs.

The Muskogee County Health Department will accept cash, checks or credit cards for payment and will provide flu vaccine according to the following fee schedule:

• No charge for families whose income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level.

• No charge for adults 65 years of age and older. Medicare will be billed for the vaccine and the administration fee. Adults 65 and older should bring their Medicare Card.

• No charge for children who have no health insurance, or are on SoonerCare or are Native American or Alaska natives, or children whose insurance does not cover vaccines.

• No cost for anyone 6 months through 64 years of age with Health Choice Insurance. Bring your insurance information.

• Children and adults with health insurance that covers vaccines and those with incomes above 185 percent of the poverty level will be charged a fee of $25 to cover the cost of the flu vaccine and the cost of administering the vaccine.

In addition to getting a flu vaccination, persons 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions should ask their doctor if they should be vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a common and potentially serious complication of the flu. Unlike the influenza vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine does not need to be given every year. This vaccine is available at the Muskogee County Health Department. Persons age 65 and older will not be charged; those persons who are younger than 65 and who are covered by non-contracted private insurance companies will be charged $60 at the time of service. Persons younger than age 65 who do not have private insurance will not be charged the fee, regardless of income.

Muskogee County Health Department is located at 530 S. 34th St. Information: (918) 683-0321 or toll free (877) 596-1596.