Local News

Perdue, cabinet members to get flu shot

Posted September 8, 2009 5:43 a.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2009 6:32 a.m. EDT

— Gov. Bev Perdue and 10 cabinet members will get seasonal flu shots Tuesday afternoon and urge North Carolinians to do the same before an expected surge of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu.

State health officials recommend everyone get a shot for the regular, seasonal flu now and then get another shot to protect against H1N1 when the vaccine becomes available later this fall.

The seasonal flu vaccine is already available. North Carolina has shipped 76,000 doses to health departments, hospitals and doctors offices.

Leigh Robison was one of about 100 people who got a flu shot last week at Kerr Drug in Chapel Hill.

"I know people who are already getting the flu, so I want to make sure that I'm protected and don't get it," Robison said.

CVS Caremark Corp., Walgreen Co. and Rite Aid Corp. are also giving flu shots earlier this year.

Pharmacists said it's not too early to get the flu shot.

"Some people are a little apprehensive about getting the flu shot this early, and once again, we'll refer the CDC, and they ensure us that the flu shot is good for a full year," pharmacist Joe Heidrick said.

Kerr Drug will have 80,000 doses of the H1N1 vaccine beginning in mid- to late October, Heidrick said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the flu vaccine for children, the elderly, caregivers, pregnant women and people with weak immune systems or many other chronic health problems. Children with respiratory or heart conditions should be among the first to get the H1N1 vaccine.

As of last week, North Carolina had reported nine deaths and 193 people hospitalized with H1N1.

As of Sept. 4, H1N1 had caused at least 2,837 deaths and sickened more than a quarter-million people since first appearing this year in Mexico and the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

According to the CDC, the season flu sends about 226,000 Americans to the hospital and kills about 36,000 each year.