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Black Oklahomans less likely to get flu shots, health leaders say

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that black residents are less likely than white residents to receive a flu shot. Several health departments and clinics provide the vaccine either at a low cost or no cost.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: December 15, 2012

As people travel to other states for the holidays, they can bring the flu virus back with them, Nubine said.

It's important for residents to get their shots, which take about two weeks to take full effect, before Oklahoma sees higher rates of the flu, she said.

County health departments charge a $25 fee for regular seasonal flu vaccine for people who have insurance and resources to pay. The flu shot is also covered by Medicare Part B for adults 65 and older.

People who are on Medicare and do not belong to an HMO won't be charged a fee. Also, no fee is charged for residents on SoonerCare, the state's Medicaid program, and for children who are eligible for the Vaccines for Children program.

People 18 and younger who are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, underinsured or American Indian or an Alaska Native qualify for the Vaccines for Children program.

“Underinsured” means a child has private health insurance but doesn't have coverage for vaccines or has insurance that covers only certain vaccines or has a cap on vaccine coverage.

Underinsured children can receive a Vaccines for Children vaccine only through a Rural Health Clinic or a Federally Qualified Health Center, such as Variety Care, which has six pediatric sites in Oklahoma County.

No one is denied a flu shot because of inability to pay, according to the Health Department.

by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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