The Osage County Health Department announced its seasonal influenza vaccination clinic schedule for the upcoming flu season. Clinics will begin Oct. 2.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health and Osage County Health Department recommend flu vaccination each year for everyone 6 months of age and older. The more people vaccinated, the less the chance that flu will spread in families and communities.

Each year in the United States, flu causes millions of illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. The flu vaccine is the best defense against getting the flu. Flu season usually starts in September or October and runs through April or May.

“It takes about two weeks after vaccination to become fully protected so it is important for everyone in your family to be vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Larry Bergner, administrative director for the Osage County Health Department. “Protection from the flu vaccine lasts about six months, so people vaccinated in October should be protected through April of next year.”

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, people 65 and older, and those with chronic health conditions, should ask their doctor about being vaccinated against pneumococcal pneumonia. Pneumococcal pneumonia is a common and potentially serious complication of the flu. Unlike the influenza vaccine, the pneumococcal vaccine does not need to be given every year.

The Osage County Health Department will be providing flu vaccine using the following fee schedule:

• All individuals with health insurance should bring their card. Their insurance company will be billed for the vaccine and an administration fee.

• Individuals who have no health insurance, whose health insurance does not cover flu vaccine, who are eligible for SoonerCare, or children 18 years of age and younger who are Native American or Alaskan natives may receive their vaccine at no charge.

• All others will be charged a fee of $25 to cover the cost of the flu vaccine and the cost of administering the vaccine.

Clinic days and times are as follows:

On walk-in days: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to noon and 1 –4 p.m. at 1115 E. 15th Street, Pawhuska, OK 74056. Please call (918) 287-3740 to schedule an appointment.

The Osage County Health Department will accept SoonerCare, Medicare, all private health insurance, cash, checks, or credit cards as payment for flu vaccine. For more information about flu clinics at the Osage County Health Department, call 918-287-3740.