Health officials: Get flu shots

For pharmacists during flu season, when it rains it pours. Take Aman Garg, pharmacy manager of Sonoma’s Pharmaca, who saw a trickle of locals come in for vaccines at the start of the season, then a flood as reports of people dying from influenza started appearing in the news.

“It was kind of slow until Dec. 31,” Garg said of the Napa Street pharmacy. Then, “all of a sudden,” demand went crazy in the New Year. Last week, he said, Pharmaca was struggling to keep up with a demand of 30 to 40 shots a day.

That roughly fits with the timing of this season’s first reported flu deaths in California, with four going into the New Year, three in the first week of January, and 38 in the second week of January, according to the California Department of Public Health.

As of Monday, a total of 45 deaths were confirmed to have occurred around the state this season due to the flu virus, and another 50 flu-death cases are under investigation. In Sonoma County, three people have died from the flu since Jan. 8.

“They hear of somebody dying, they start coming,” Garg said.

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