Unemployed, uninsured can receive free flu shots - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Unemployed, uninsured can receive free flu shots

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By Kay Johnson - email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) – Seasonal flu arrived in North Carolina this week with the first two cases confirmed in two children in Durham County.

But what if you can't afford to get a flu shot? CVS and Walgreens will be giving away millions of dollars worth of free flu shots this fall and its just one of the ways getting a flu shot is made easier this year. 

Jacquis Welch makes it a habit of getting her daughter, Neveah, a flu shot each year.

"I like to keep her well and immune from all the sickness that she will be around in school," Jacquis Welch said.

After learning about the two confirmed cases of the virus in North Carolina and a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urging everyone to get the vaccine this year, it makes Welch think harder about getting one for herself.

John Ramirez says his company always suggests getting a flu shot, especially since he travels to several health facilities across North Carolina.

"What happened last year, it didn't materialize, and people are going to hold back this year," Ramirez said.

Health officials have a couple things working in their favor this year.

Getting a flu shot is made simpler this year because it only requires one shot.  There's also a high-powered dose for seniors called "Flu Dose High Zone."

For those uninsured, getting a flu shot is easier this year, too. 

CVS Caremark plans to give away up to $5 million in seasonal flu vaccinations. Walgreens will also give away vouchers for free shots at clinics and community centers starting September 20.

Dr. Stephen Keener, the health director for Mecklenburg County, says people should take the disease seriously.

Each year, 36,000 people die from the flu in the United States alone.

"Perhaps, by making it available and recommending it to everyone, people will understand that influenza is a disease that effects everyone and can make everybody sick and it does cause disease and death," Keener said.

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