Flu vaccinations set to begin

Special to the Altus Times

The seasonal influenza vaccination clinic schedule for the upcoming flu season is set to begin 8-11 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. Wednesday at the Jackson County Health Department or JCHD, 401 W. Tamarack Road in Altus.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and JCHD officials recommend a flu vaccination every year for everyone six months of age and older. The more people vaccinated, the less the chance that flu will spread in families and communities.

“It takes about two weeks after vaccination to become fully protected so get everyone in your family vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Karen Weaver, JCHD administrative director. “Protection from the flu vaccine lasts about six months, so people vaccinated in October should be protected through April of next year.”

According to a JCHD press release, immunization is the safest and best way to protect people at high risk from the flu such as pregnant women, children and people with chronic heart and lung diseases.

In addition to getting a flu vaccination, persons 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions, should ask a doctor about being vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia — a common and potentially serious complication of the flu, the press release said.

At this time, there is a limited amount of high dose influenza vaccine. Please call to see if that specific type of flu vaccine is available.

The JCHD will be providing flu vaccine using the following fee schedule:

* There will be no charge for families whose income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level. However, those with health insurance should bring a card. The insurance company will be billed for the vaccine and an administration fee.

* There will be no charge for adults 65 years of age and older. These adults should bring a Medicare Card or other health insurance card.

* There is 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.

For more information contact Brittany Forester at brittanyf@health.ok.gov, Leann Gilchrist at leanng@health.ok.gov, Karen Weaver at karenxw@health.ok.gov or call 580-482-7308.

Special to the Altus Times

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