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Flu to-do may include vaccine at your local pharmacy

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

With the onset of flu season, there’s still plenty of time to get a shot.

Now might be a good time.

In recent weeks, North Carolina has become one of eight states to have an early, especially intense flu season.

Three influenza-related deaths have been reported, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

While the Brunswick County Health Department offers flu shots, pharmacies are administering them, too.

“Pharmacies are being allowed to do more,” said Fred Michael, deputy director for the Brunswick County Health Department.

More frequently, drugstores like CVS and Walgreens are offering healthcare and clinic services that can help offset costs as well as serve as a convenience.

“It’s a growing trend,” Michael said.

More and more, people are finding if they’re at a drugstore or pharmacy, they might as well get their flu shots while they’re there, too.

Michael sees that as a good thing.

“We’re all for immunizing as many people as possible,” he said. “The more opportunity people have to get a shot, the better.”

The downside is pharmacy vaccines can’t be administered to children, nor can they provide high-dose vaccine, which is available at the health department.

High-dose flu vaccine contains twice as much antigen as regular vaccine.

“As we get older, you need more vaccine,” Michael said.

The health department offers five types of flu vaccine, including high-dose, regular, children’s pediatric, FluMist and a new intradermal flu shot administered with “very tiny needles, for people who don’t like needles,” Michael said.

Costs of the shots at the health department are $38 for a regular vaccine injection, $42 for intradermal, $47 for FluMist and $56 for high-dose.

Most insurance pays the full price, Michael said.

The health department has administered more than 4,000 flu shots since September. Michael said they normally do about 6,000 per season, which continues through March.

People can get shots at the health department in Bolivia, with no appointments necessary. The department is open 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Or just visit your local pharmacy, Michael said.

 

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.