Multiple flu shots recommended this season
Swine flu, or H1N1, is the hot health topic heading into flu season, with schools, businesses and governments making plans to prevent outbreaks. But the seasonal version of the flu virus is still a concern to health officials. This week marks the start of seasonal flu shots available in Mecklenburg County. WFAE's Julie Rose reports: Maybe you're not one to get flu shots, but all this talk about a pandemic has you planning to get the swine flu shot and you figure you can skip the seasonal version. Or maybe you always get a flu shot and you think that one pinch on the arm will cover you for the season on the flu front. Either way, you're wrong, according to Mecklenburg County Health Department spokesman Rick Christenbury. "The virus is different," says Christenbury. "One vaccine doesn't cover the other. So therefore this new vaccine is going to have to be applied as well as the seasonal." County Health Officials recommend you roll up your sleeve at least twice this season, for both the seasonal and H1N1 vaccines. Swine flu may have captured public attention, but Christenbury says the seasonal version may actually be more dangerous. "There are at least close to 36,000 people who die in the United States each year from seasonal influenza," says Christenbury. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 600 people in the U.S. have died from the H1N1 virus in the last four months. The seasonal flu vaccine is available from the Mecklenburg County Health Department this week at $25 per adult dose. Children are free. The H1N1 flu shot should be available in October and Christenbury says the government plans to make it available free of charge. For more information on the flu, dial 311.