Tulsa, OK – The Tulsa Health Department announced today that it will soon receive a limited supply of H1N1 influenza vaccine. The vaccine is in the form of a nasal spray, which is approved for healthy persons 2-49 years of age who are not pregnant and who do not have underlying medical conditions. It is anticipated that approximately 3,400 doses will arrive within the next week. These are the first doses of the new vaccine to be delivered to the county as part of the initial 21,100 doses shipped to Oklahoma.
With the first shipment of vaccine being a limited amount and in nasal spray form, the Tulsa Health Department will be following established federal protocols and targeting high risk groups first beginning with health care workers who provide direct patient care to those most vulnerable to complications from the flu. Examples include area hospital workers with direct patient care in emergency departments, pediatrics and intensive care units.
The Tulsa Health Department will also utilize the initial vaccine supply to begin implementing their countywide school vaccination program by offering vaccine to students and faculty at Limestone Elementary in Sand Springs. Although many schools are reporting student absences similar to those found during typical flu season, Limestone Elementary is experiencing a higher than usual absentee rate. As vaccine supplies increase in the coming weeks, the Tulsa Health Department will be deploying teams of nurses to area schools who wish to offer the H1N1 vaccine to their faculty and students.
"With initial supplies being limited, we will continue to work with our local health care providers to provide the vaccine first to the priority groups that are most impacted by the new H1N1 virus and as supplies increase we will be able to broaden the scope of who we can offer the vaccine to." stated Reggie Ivey, Interim Director of the Tulsa Health Department.