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NC officials want to vaccinate everyone

July 17, 2009 2:47:53 PM PDT
NC health officials expect the H1N1 virus or Swine Flu to strike again in September. Plans are underway to get all 9 million North Carolinians vaccinated. "H1N1 is here to stay," said Julie Casani, NC Division of Public Health. "The indications are that it will come back from the southern hemisphere into the northern hemisphere."

The Division of Public Health reports that 91 percent of all reported flu cases this year and 99 percent of all current cases have been diagnosed as H1N1.

As of Wednesday, 395 cases of the new virus were confirmed across 64 counties in NC, but health officials admit there could be thousands more.

So far, four people in NC have died from H1N1.

That's why state officials are preparing for the second wave that may hit this fall. They say the best defense is prevention.

"Our plan is to vaccinate everybody," Casani explained. "So there are 9 million people in the state of NC, that's 9 million vaccinations, two vaccines per person. That's 18 million injections."

NC Emergency Management Director Doug Hoell told Eyewitness News, "We're going to plan worse case, that's always the way that we do business."

Health officials strongly recommend children and pregnant women vaccinate themselves because they are the highest risk patients.

The vaccine isn't expected to be available until mid-October at the earliest.

So until then, you can continue protecting yourself by washing your hands often, covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze and if you feel sick, stay home.

For more information about H1N1 and to find resources in NC, click here.


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