Local News

Many Take Advantage Of Free Flu Shots

Posted January 24, 2005 3:21 a.m. EST

— It is not too late to get a

flu shot

-- peak flu season hits in February. But if you want a shot, you had better hurry because now that the restrictions are gone, the vaccines could go, too.

In October, the flu shot shortage made for long lines snaking their way around the Wake County Health Department.

To keep from running out of the potentially life-saving vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control put strict restrictions on who could get it, reserving it for high-risk patients. The plan worked, and there are still thousands of doses left over.

On Monday, health officials made the vaccine available to everyone.

"We just want to be sure whatever residual stock is out there is used to protect someone against the flu," said Dr. Leah Devlin, North Carolina health director.

Devlin said no additional supplies of the vaccine became available. That means now that restrictions have been lifted, what's left may not last long.

"If there are lines, they won't be lines for long because there's not that much vaccine available," Devlin said.

Wake County started the day with 4,500 doses. Officials expected to give out around 500 shots. The demand for flu shots is down a bit in Durham. The county's health department director says few people have called about the vaccine. Close to 1,000 doses are available. If you want a free flu shot, you are asked to call and make an appointment.