Flu season is here, and Wake County Public Health is urging people that now is the time to “take your shot” against the flu.
Thanks to so many people taking precautions for COVID-19 last year, flu activity was unusually low in the 2020-2021 season, with seven flu-related deaths reported in North Carolina and none reported in Wake County. However, with restrictions lifting and children returning to in-person school, flu risk is expected to increase this year.
“COVID-19 and the flu have some similar symptoms, and serious cases may require hospitalization,” said Wake County Commissioner Dr. James West. “With local hospitals still reeling from the surge in COVID-19 cases, it’s especially important to minimize the number of flu cases this year to avoid further strain on our health care system.”
Where to Get Vaccinated
Flu vaccines are available in nearly every pharmacy, doctor’s office, health department and some schools and universities.
Most of these locations will offer flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines or boosters.
Wake County Public Health is holding walk-in flu shot clinics at the Public Health Center located at 10 Sunnybrook Rd. in Raleigh. The clinics are scheduled on Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 13, 20 and 27 and Nov. 3, 10 and 17. No appointment is needed.
COVID-19 vaccines are also administered at this location but appointments are required.
The flu vaccine can be taken as a shot or as a nasal spray.
There is no charge for the flu shot for:
- uninsured pregnant women
- children who qualify for the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC). To qualify they must be under 19 years of age and one of the following:
- Uninsured or underinsured
- Medicaid recipients
- American Indian or Alaskan
The cost for the vaccine for all other adults is $30. There is also a high dose flu vaccine recommended for those over 65 years old for $60. As payment, Wake County Public Health accepts cash or check and can also bill to your accepted insurance.
Wake County hosted three employee flu shot clinics during the month of September and encourages other businesses and organizations to consider easy options for their employees to get their shots.
“As the weather turns colder, people will gather indoors more frequently, increasing the possibility of sharing germs and viruses like the flu,” said Jose Cabañas, Wake County Chief Medical Officer. “Employers who urge or incentivize vaccination will see better productivity from their staff by reducing their chances of getting sick, missing work or ending up in the hospital.”
Can you get a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time? Many may be wondering if they can get a flu shot at or around the same time as a COVID-19 vaccine. The answer is yes.
According to the CDC, a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines can be administered without regard to timing. It’s not only safe, but also an added convenience for some to receive both shots at the same time.
Who Should Get a Flu Shot?
Wake County Public Health encourages everyone to get vaccinated against the flu – especially children ages five and younger, and adults 65 and older – because they’re at greater risk of becoming seriously ill from flu.
They also advise that frontline workers, caregivers, first responders and people with underlying health conditions get a flu shot.
In North Carolina, flu infections are most common from late fall to early spring. The following precautions should be taken to protect against the spread of flu and other viruses like COVID-19:
- Stay home when sick until fever-free for at least 24 hours;
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water;
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then discard the tissue promptly; and
- Continue to practice the 3 Ws — wearing a face covering over your nose and mouth, waiting six feet apart, and washing your hands often can help slow the spread of COVID-19 and flu.
For more information about how you can “take your shot” against the flu, visit wakegov.com/takeyourshot.