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Oklahoma receives first dose of swine flu vaccine

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OKLAHOMA - Oklahoma received its first 21,000 doses of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine this week in the form of a nasal spray.

Comanche County health departments in southwest Oklahoma got 1,000 doses of the vaccine and say the first round of doses will only be given to healthy people from ages 2 to 49. Schools will be the first to get the vaccines.

The health department also has a particular plan as to how they will decide which schools get the vaccine first.

"We are tracking the daily absentee rates of the schools within the county and looking for the schools that have experienced the highest absentee rate. With that in mind we're gonna target the school which to this point has shown the highest rate," said Health Department Director Keith Reed.

Fletcher School Superintendent Kathy Turner says she was not willing to wait for the vaccines to come in.  She says the school spent thousands of dollars on hand sanitizer pumps and handy wipes and had them ready when school started.

"It was a commitment our school district made. Took money out of general op funds.  We want our children here and well and teachers here and well," said Turner.

Turner says she believes prevention is the best treatment and that is how they are attacking it.

"We have taken very aggressive prevent action.  You don't know who moves in and out of communities.  Our community hasn't been hit very hard by the swine flu.  So we're taking care of business here at school," said Turner.

Reed agrees prevention is crucial, but he says the vaccine is the best weapon against the swine flu.

"We understand people have concerns.  It's important.  Either injection or flu mist will not cause the flu, however anytime you get an injection the body responds through bolstering [the immune system].  And that can cause a low grade fever or some very mild symptoms," said Reed.

Reed says the health department is expecting to get some more shipments of flu mist vaccines in next week.  Then he says, after that, they will be getting the flu shot vaccines, which will be available to everyone when sufficient quantities become available.

The health department says it is going to be holding a flu clinic at Elgin Public Schools Wednesday. They will be distributing the mist vaccine to students, faculty, and staff only.

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