Flu vaccine

AP file photo

Local health departments and other health care providers are currently administering the flu vaccine.

According to the Oklahoma State Department of Health, everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu vaccine.

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine by the end of October, before flu begins spreading in the community,” the state health department said in a press release. “The flu vaccine can keep a person from getting the flu and make the illness less severe if a person gets it.”

According to the department, 3,580 Oklahomans were hospitalized because of a flu-related illness last influenza season. During that same time, 85 Oklahomans died, including three children under 17.

“It is critically important this year that every Oklahoman who can get the flu shot does so right away,” Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said in the press release. “This is a great method of preventing the spread of influenza in our communities, and I urge Oklahomans to take this proactive step.”

Though the flu vaccine won’t prevent COVID-19, it will prevent the possibility of a flu-related illness. It also will ease the number of hospitalizations and deaths on the health care system and conserve the scarce medical resources for the care of people with COVID-19, the press release said.

Free flu shots are available at health care providers enrolled in the Vaccines For Children program, including all local county health departments and community health centers (CHC).

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