RALEIGH,N.C. — Wake County is taking a new approach with its flu vaccination clinics. To avoid long lines, the county says appointments are the way to go.
Wake County currently has 11,700 doses of the vaccine in stock. About 2,700 will go to high-risk individuals at the clinics. A panel of medical experts decided the rest should be distributed to nursing homes, doctors offices and health care workers.
The county will screen people over the phone to determine if they fall within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest definitions of high-risk individuals for complications from influenza:
"The hospitals are one area we haven't been able to cover because they usually get high doses of vaccine in and they've gotten very little this year," said Wake County's community health director Gibbie Harris.
The county expects a delivery of additional doses soon. For now, the message is stay home if you have flu symptoms.
"We don't want them to go shopping, go to school, go to the movies," community health medical director Dr. David Damsker said.
Some schools, including Ravenscroft, are sending letters homes to parents.
"It is tempting to think your kids are almost ready to come back to school, but we are really urging parents for the greater good, although it may be inconvenient for them, for the best interest of the child and school, let them stay home until they are completely recovered," said Doreen Kelly, head of the school.
The school is even encouraging parents to send hand-sanitzer with their children.
Those who are in the high-risk group must call to schedule an appointment beginning Nov. 1 for the clinic on Nov. 8. The health department will give about 300 flu shots a day by appointment only, in room 299 of its building at 10 Sunnybrook Road.
Appointments will be made on an hourly basis and will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, as long as the vaccine supply lasts.
On Nov. 11, clinics and the appointment line will be closed for the Veterans Day holiday. Appointments will be available in English and Spanish by calling 212-7000.