SOUTHEASTERN NC—Though most attention has been given to the Covid-19 vaccine as of late, flu season is well underway with vaccines ready for those who have yet to receive one.
Early in the season, especially with Covid-19 numbers rising, were the grumblings of a possible “twindemic” — patients infected with both Covid-19 and influenza, which could possibly overburden hospitals worse than what’s happening now.
So far, Center for Disease Control reports are showing a lighter outlook than normal upon entering the 2020-21 flu season. The agency’s Dec. 5 report has fewer cases, especially when compared to last year.
Between October 1, 2019 and April 4, 2020, the CDC reported:
- 39 to 56 million illnesses
- 410,000 to 740,000 hospitalizations
- 24,000 to 62,000 deaths
- 195 pediatric deaths
Measures taken to mitigate the spread — like face masks, social distancing, school closures, and teleworking — all could be contributing factors. Paired with the flu vaccine, it could reduce the impact this year and for seasons to come, according to the CDC.
Annually, the CDC reviews the makeup of flu viruses and updates the vaccine according to what’s tracking across the U.S. The 2020-21 vaccination will cover three or four strands:
- A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus (updated)
- A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus
- B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus
Locally, there are options available in the tri-county area for folks to still get a free flu vaccine.
New Hanover County
New Hanover County Health and Human Services
1650 Greenfield St. • (910) 798-3500
Public health offices are open for residents every Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Flu shots are offered for free, with or without insurance (though, residents with insurance will be asked to show their cards for filing purposes only). All shots are available to patients 6 months and older.
Fill out a patient registration form ahead of time to get the vaccine.
Brunswick County Health Services
30 Government Center Dr. NE • (800) 442-7033
First things first, let’s get all the documents needed to get a shot at the outdoor drive-through flu clinic: regular form (6 months or older) or high-dose form (65 and older), bring your ID and insurance card(s). Please, wear a face mask when going through the drive-through to get a flu shot and secure all pets in the car ahead of stopping.
The clinic will be open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. through 4 p.m., with signs posted to direct patients on where to go in the government complex. Regular flu shots (not high doses) will be free for adults who cannot afford one.
Pender County Health Department
803 S. Walker St., Burgaw • (910) 259-1230
Pender County Health Services makes it clear its immunization clinic’s goal is to stop the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases like the flu. Though it works with families on a sliding scale discount based on income, it doesn’t turn folks away with few or no resources.
There are two clinics open to serve folks on a walk-in basis: The actual health department in Burgaw is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Hampstead Annex (15060 Hwy 17) is open every first and third Wednesday from noon – 5 p.m.
Flu form is here to fill out ahead of time.
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