OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma State Department of Health encourages all Oklahomans to get the flu shot as soon as they are able this flu season, with children being a high priority population. The CDC's Vaccines for Children program supplies flu shots at no cost to Oklahoma children age 18 and under who are uninsured, underinsured, on Medicaid - SoonerCare, or American Indian/Alaska Native.
On average, about eight percent of the U.S. population gets sick from flu each season, and children are the most likely to contract the disease.
VFC is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise get the shot due to inability to pay. VFC flu shots are available at specific providers and community partner locations across the state, including Oklahoma's 68 county health departments and the state's fleet of Mobile Wellness Units.
"The flu shot is particularly important for at-risk populations who may experience the potentially serious complications of influenza," said Dr. Fauzia Khan, director of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Immunization Service. "CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that everyone six months of age and older should get the flu shot every season with rare exception."
In addition to children, it is recommended that pregnant women, individuals 65 years and older, and those with certain chronic health conditions, get a flu shot by the end of October. Most health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid - SoonerCare, cover the cost of an annual flu vaccination. Flu shot options are also available for Oklahomans without insurance.
To learn more about finding flu shots in Oklahoma, visit fightflu.health.ok.gov. Oklahomans can also call the 2-1-1 helpline or contact their county health departments for assistance.
The Center for Disease Control Vaccine Finder website at vaccines.gov also lists flu shot providers in Oklahoma and nationwide.