RALEIGH, N.C. — State health officials announce the first flu death in North Carolina this season. This comes as we approach another winter with the pandemic and the new omicron variant. The CDC says the best way to protect yourself against both COVID-19 and the flu is to get vaccinated.
What You Need To Know
State health officials say the first North Carolinian has died from the flu
Charles Wallas, 83, is vaccinated against both COVID-19 and the flu as flu activity increases in the U.S.
The CDC says flu and COVID vaccines can be given at the same time, but it’s important to speak to your health care provider first
Charles Wallas, 83, has been a resident at the Cardinal, a senior living facility in North Hills, for about five years. He is excited because the Christmas party is back on this year.
“We were not able to do this last year because of COVID, and it was felt to be too dangerous,” Wallas said. “But it’s really wonderful to be able to get back out and socialize and everybody here is looking forward to having this party and socializing around all of us who were vaccinated.”
All of the residents and staff at the Cardinal are vaccinated against COVID-19. Most COVID-19 deaths have been in people 65 or older, according to the latest data from the CDC. And recently, Wallas and other seniors at the facility received their flu shot, as flu activity across the U.S. begins to increase.
“We’re still in the midst of a raging pandemic around COVID, particularly with a new variant omicron,” Wallas said. “And now we’re facing what is a seasonable flu outbreak which last year was minimal because we were using masking and other techniques to prevent us from getting infected which we certainly stopped doing as rigidly as we were doing before.”
Wallas, a retired physician, does not have any underlying conditions. While vaccines may not prevent him from getting COVID-19 or the flu, Wallas says they will keep him out of the hospital.
“It’s very effective at preventing serious illness or even death. But you still can get a mild case of flu,” Wallas said. “And they’re designed to prevent you from basically getting a serious or life-threatening infection which could end your life.”
Wallas wants to make a push to get more people vaccinated for COVID-19 and flu. The CDC says flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time, but it is recommended to speak to your health care provider, especially if you are immunocompromised.