OK (KSWO)- With flu season just around the corner, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) announced that county health departments will begin offering flu vaccine statewide the week of October 3.
Flu vaccination is recommended each year for everyone 6 months of age and older. When more people are vaccinated against the flu, there is less opportunity for flu to spread in families, schools and communities.
"We are learning more and more about the benefits of influenza vaccination every year," said OSDH Commissioner Dr. Terry Cline. "One example is the benefit for pregnant women and newborn babies. Flu vaccination not only protects pregnant women, but also protects their babies for up to 6 months. Since influenza is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women and newborns this protection is important. Flu vaccination is safe during pregnancy, after delivery, and for breastfeeding women."
In addition to getting a flu vaccination, persons 65 years of age and older, and those with chronic health conditions, should ask their health care provider about being 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 also available at county health departments.
County health departments will accept SoonerCare, Medicare, all private health insurance, cash, checks, or credit cards as payment for flu vaccine. The following fee schedule will apply:
- No charge for families whose income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. However, those who have health insurance should bring their insurance card. The insurance company will be billed for the vaccine and an administration fee.
- No charge for adults 65 years of age and older. Adults 65 and older should bring their Medicare Card or other health insurance card.
- No charge for children 18 years of age and younger who have no health insurance, whose health insurance does not cover flu vaccine, who are eligible for SoonerCare, or who are Native American or Alaskan natives.
- All others will be charged a fee of $25 to cover the cost of the flu vaccine and the cost of administering the vaccine.
County health departments will not be offering the flu mist as it is no longer recommended by the CDC. For more information, call a local county health department or visit the OSDH website at www.health.ok.gov.