This year's flu strain is taking a toll on Oklahoma residents 65 and older.
Six Oklahoma residents died this past week from the flu, all 65 or older, according to the state Health Department's weekly report.
Meanwhile, almost 800 flu-related hospitalizations have been reported since September, when this year's flu season began, according to the state Health Department.
The majority of Oklahoma residents who have died or have been hospitalized from the flu this season have been 65 or older.
Since September, 23 people in 13 counties have died from the flu in Oklahoma. That includes 18 people 65 and older, according to the state Health Department.
A total of 798 flu-related hospitalizations has been reported since September. Of that, 407 of the hospitalizations were in people 65 and older, representing half of hospitalizations this flu season.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Young children, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 and older have the highest chances of developing serious complications related to the flu.
Seth Haymore, clinic director at Passport Health in Oklahoma City, said he has seen increased interest from parents in getting their children the flu shot this flu season.
“Almost every pediatric office in the city ran out, and our phones were ringing off the hook for weeks with parents trying to find pediatric flu vaccine, and we're one of the only clinics in the city with pediatric flu vaccine,” Haymore said.
Passport Health, 3330 NW 56, Suite 220, is a clinic that specializes in immunizations, providing routine immunizations for doctor's offices that don't carry the shots and for people traveling outside the U.S.
Haymore said there's still time to get a flu shot, which are still available at Passport Health, along with some pharmacies, doctor's offices and county health departments.
The clinic accepts Medicare, which provides coverage for adults who qualify for Medicare to get the shot generally at no cost, Haymore said.
It's not always easy for Oklahoma residents 65 and older to get to a clinic to get their flu shot, Haymore said.
“Unfortunately, they don't have an advocate to spur them to ... come in themselves, whereas a parent is going to do anything to protect their child against something they hear is circulating against something like the flu virus,” he said.