When is it too late to get a flu shot?

FARMVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – CarolinaEast Medical Center is bringing back its masking requirement for staff and visitors to their New Bern hospital. The move comes as data released this afternoon from state health officials show dozens of flu deaths since last week.

That is why health officials are urging those who haven’t to still go get their flu shot.

New numbers from the State Department of Health and Human Services show 43 new flu deaths this week. That brings the total flu deaths in North Carolina this season to 95, with seven of them being children and three of them under five years old.

The head pharmacist at Pharmville drugs, Staci Garner, says some people wait until the last bit of the season for a reason.

“They think it’s going to cover them longer. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. As long as you get your vaccine between October and January, you’re good,” Garner advised.

According to ECU health, there have been 218 cases of positive flu tests in the past week in both their clinics and the medical center.

Although flu cases are still prominent, hospital admissions are going down, and the state is seeing that trend too.

Louann Wiley is a registered nurse who has been giving flu shots for about 38 years.

She says this flu season has been more active than others, making vaccinations more important.

“If you haven’t gotten it, get it, you know, because it is not too late to get it. If you’re over 65, you really have to think about getting the flu vaccine,” Wiley said.

A CDC report shows that vaccinations were lowest this season compared to the past five years, which could be a reason for the spike in flu cases.

Health officials also say COVID-19 vaccines are important to get, which could be administered with the flu vaccine.

The nearest place to get both vaccines can be found on vaccinefinder.org.