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The Importance of Flu Shots

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist received their flu shots downtown on Tuesday. Tulsa Health Department Clinical Services Manager Ellen Niemitalo, RN, administered their vaccines and while she explained why the shot is so vital this year.

“It is the most important thing that we can do to minimize flu in our community. It doesn’t just protect the individual receiving the shot but everyone around them – their families, their community, their schools, their classrooms, their places of business,” Niemitalo said. “If we are reducing the incidents of influenza, that will reduce stressors on our healthcare system.”

“This is something all of us can do to reduce our chances of getting the flu and reduce our chances of using that hospital capacity that our systems need available to provide medical treatment for those people who are suffering from the virus that we don’t have a shot for,” said Mayor Bynum.

Dr. Gist encouraged all Tulsans to get their flu shot so that once kids return to school in-person, they have a better chance to stay there. The Tulsa Health Department recommends the flu vaccine for everyone six months or older. While shots are a dreaded event for many kids (and some adults), it is crucial that all students and their families get the vaccine.

“We have great medical professionals who will make sure it is really not as scary as it seems, and it is far better than the alternative which is the illness that we’re guarding against,” said Dr. Gist.

The Tulsa Health Department offers flu shots by appointment at the James O. Goodwin Health Center and the Central Regional Health Center. Call 918-582-9355 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. For more information on the flu vaccine, visit