Local News

N.C. Health Officials: It's Not Too Late To Vaccinate Against Flu

Posted January 7, 2005

— If you are eligible to get a flu shot, North Carolina's health director urges you to get one.

"There's a misconception that it is too late to get immunized," said Dr. Leah Devlin. "In fact, now is the time to get immunized to avoid the worst part of our flu season. If you get immunized now, then you are at less risk of becoming infected when you are mostly likely to be exposed."

It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to take effect. North Carolina's flu season usually peaks in mid-February to March.

The state monitors flu activity through a sentinel system.

Sixty health providers across North Carolina report the number of their patients who are experiencing influenza-like illness, which is a fever of at least 100 degrees and cough or sore throat.

Thursday's report shows that flu activity is beginning to increase in the state, with 1.24 percent of the sentinel patients reporting influenza-like illness.

Flu shots are available. Call your local health department or health care provider to find out how to get immunized.

On Friday, lines formed early for flu shots at the Harris Teeter on Kildaire Farm Road in Cary. The store had about 400 doses available at a cost of $25.

The Wake County Health Department has 2,000 doses available now and at least 3,000 doses are expected in the next two weeks.

Nurses there have been giving out about 400 shots a day. The county health department is booked with appointments through next week.

North Carolinians eligible to receive the flu vaccine include:

  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of persons in high-risk groups.
  • All adults 50 years and older.
  • All children aged 6-23 months.
  • Persons aged 2-50 years with underlying chronic medical conditions.
  • All women who will be pregnant during the influenza season.
  • Residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities.
  • Children aged 2-18 years on chronic aspirin therapy.
  • Health-care workers involved in direct patient care.
  • Out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children younger than 6 months.
  • Last year 15 people under the age of 18 died from the flu in North Carolina.


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