North Carolina has reported its first flu death of the season. And in the Upstate of South Carolina, several doctors tell us flu cases are already racking up.
It has doctors ramping up their annual push of the flu vaccine.
North Carolina health officials aren’t releasing the name or hometown of the person who died from the flu for privacy reasons. They do say it was an adult from the western part of the state.
In the Upstate, doctor’s offices in Spartanburg, Greenville and Pickens counties tell us they’re already seeing positive flu cases and they don’t expect that activity to slow down.
Bon Secours St. Francis saw its first flu case two weeks ago.
“Last year we thought we had an early flu season starting October 4th so we are several weeks ahead of what we thought and considered to be an early flu vaccine,” said Dr. Saria Saccocio, the health system’s Chief Medical Officer.
According to the CDC, this year’s flu vaccine covers several strains, including one that emerged too late last season to be covered. It’s a big reason why the 2014 vaccine was only found to be 23% effective.
Dr. Saccocio is urging people not to be complacent because of that.
“Although last year the flu vaccine did not seem to be as effective, this year is completely different. What is in the vaccine… is more prepared because of our history last year.” said Dr. Saccocio.
Bon Secours St. Francis Health System is hosting a free drive-thru flu shot clinic Friday at the Wellness Arena in Greenville.
It’s from 11am to 1pm in the VIP parking lot off Church Street. Flu shots are free to any adult 18 and older, on a first come first serve basis.
Greenville Health System also has several free flu shot clinics throughout October at its area hospitals. Here’s a list for locations in Greer and Simpsonville:
•Tuesday, October 6, 2015 – 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., at Greer Memorial Hospital
•Tuesday, October 13, 2015 – 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., at Duncan Community Center
•Thursday, October 15, 2015 – 7:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m., at Greer Memorial Hospital
•Wednesday, October 12, 2015 – 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., at Washington Baptist Church
•Thursday, October 22, 2015 – 4:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m., at Hillcrest Memorial Hospital (drive-thru clinic)