Vaccinations near for schools
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Friday, October 16, 2009
10/16/09 at 4:30 AM
The Tulsa City-County Health Department is planning to offer H1N1 vaccine to children at Tulsa-area schools as soon as next week.
Plans about which schools will host vaccination events and the number of doses expected to be given haven't been firmed up yet, spokeswoman Melanie Christian said.
"Vaccination is certainly the most effective way to protect yourself from influenza," she said. "Flu vaccine has a good safety record. The H1N1 vaccine is manufactured in exactly the same manner as the seasonal flu vaccine."
It is up to each school's leaders to decide whether vaccinations will be offered there, Christian said. Parents must sign a permission slip for their child to be immunized.
Hundreds of Sapulpa parents and children waited in a long line in the Sapulpa High School gymnasium Wednesday to get the 1,000 doses supplied by the Creek County Health Department.
A 4-year-old Tulsa County boy died Saturday of complications from H1N1 flu, more commonly known as the swine flu, state health officials confirmed Wednesday. Funeral services for Geato McCarty were held Wednesday.
It is unknown whether the boy had any underlying medical condition because the family could not be reached for comment.
The boy's death brought the state's swine-flu death toll to eight, with three of the deaths among children younger than 18, according to the weekly Oklahoma Flu View report released Thursday.
Children are among the five groups identified by federal officials as more susceptible to complications or death from the disease. Those groups are people ages 6 months to 24 years, health-care workers, people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or muscular dystrophy, caregivers to children younger than 6 months, and pregnant women.
Since Sept. 1, 327 Oklahomans have been hospitalized with swine flu. Of those, 208 were younger than 19. And of the 42 patients admitted to intensive care, 16 were younger than 19, the report said.
Nationally, 76 children have died from swine-flu complications since the H1N1 virus emerged in April, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"The H1N1 influenza is pretty much throughout the country with unusual levels of illness for this time of year," CDC spokeswoman Dr. Anne Schuchat said this week. "We've had five more pediatric deaths reported. So, again, tragic consequences for a lot of children."
Most people who died had underlying medical conditions, she said. The most common conditions among children who died were asthma, chronic lung disease, neurologic or neuromuscular diseases, and sickle-cell or other blood disorders, Schuchat said.
Pregnant women also are more susceptible to complications or death from the swine flu. Schuchat urged pregnant women to talk with their doctors about the vaccine.
"In pregnancy, there's a change in the immune system, which makes it easier for the woman to hold the fetus and not have immune reaction to the baby. And so risk of infections can be greater," she said.
As the baby grows, it can press on the mother's airway, Schuchat said.
"So it's harder to take a deep breath and it's harder to fight off a lung infection, especially in the later stages of pregnancy," she said.
County dispenses antiviral medication
The Tulsa County Social Services pharmacy
began dispensing antiviral medication Thursday
to uninsured people with early symptoms of the
Dave Cox of the Tulsa City-County Health
Department said Tamiflu is for both H1N1 and
Cox said the medication should be taken
within 48 hours of the onset of the flu.
The Tulsa County Social Services pharmacy
is at 2401 Charles Page Blvd. The medication is
free, but a doctor’s prescription is required.
For more information, call the pharmacy at
For more information on the swine flu, call
(866) 278-7134 or go online to tulsaworld.com/swineflu.
In adults, emergency warning signs are:
Source: Centers for Disease Control
- Difficulty breathing or
shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the
chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent
Kim Archer 581-8315