The Cherokee Nation is preparing for the upcoming flu season, and its health services department has an increased supply of vaccination on hand to offer multiple flu clinics in October and November for Cherokees and citizens of federally recognized tribes. Above, W.W. Hastings Hospital pediatrics patient Stewart Arnold, 6, of Pryor, receives his bandage after getting the flu vaccine from Pediatrics Manager Stephanie Thompson, RN.
Some Cherokee Nation Health centers started flu clinics in their communities on Oct. 1. Physicians recommend getting vaccinated as early as possible. W.W. Hastings Hospital Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Dante Perez, said, "Flu season is responsible for a lot of hospitalizations of children and elders. It's so important that everybody--kids and adults--receive their flu vaccination before flu season starts. Vaccines allow our bodies to develop antibodies against the virus given time. It's not automatic, and it doesn't happen immediately. That's why it's so important to get it done early." Cherokee Nation's eight health centers and W.W. Hastings Hospital received more than 50,000 doses of the flu vaccine altogether. Flu clinics will be set up in more than 50 locations, including health centers and schools, to provide tribal citizens and their families with easier access to the vaccinations.
Last year, Cherokee Nation Health Services administered about 35,000 flu vaccines, nearly double the amount from 2012. By adding several weeks to the flu clinic schedule, Cherokee Nation Health officials hope to increase those figures again before the season peaks in December and January. All flu clinics are for tribal citizens and their families, including non-Indian family members within the household. W.W. Hastings Hospital will kick off their flu clinic on Oct. 8. Nurses will be on hand Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., to administer the vaccine. The hospital is located at 100 S. Bliss Ave, Tahlequah.
In Sequoyah County, the following clinics will be offering flu vaccinations.
Oct. 3 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Belfonte Community Center;
Oct. 7 - 9 a.m. Vian Public Schools;
Oct. 8 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Evening Shade Community Center;
Oct. 13 - 9 a.m. Sallisaw Central Public Schools;
Oct. 14 - 9 a.m. Brushy Public Schools;
Oct. 15 - 9 a.m. Moffett Public Schools;
Oct. 21 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Muldrow Community Center;
Oct. 22 - 9 a.m. Belfonte Public Schools;
Oct. 24 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tsa-La-Gi Community Center;
Oct 24 - 9 a.m. Muldrow Public Schools;
Oct. 29 - 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Marble City Public Schools;
Oct 30 - 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sallisaw Nutrition Center.
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