Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sticking it to the governor's cabinet

I've covered a lot of press conferences in four decades of covering N.C. politics and I don't recall another like the one Gov. Bev Perdue had Tuesday afternoon. She brought much of her cabinet and other ranking state officials to promote the importance of getting seasonal flu shots for the upcoming season and to remind those deemed at-risk (children under 2, and pregnant women) to plan to get flu shots for the swine flu when the new H1N1 shots are available. For more information, go to The press conference included the spectacle of the governor getting the First Shot and two cabinet members, Secretary of Transportation Gene Conti and Secretary of Revenue Ken Lay peeling off their dress shirts to get theirs-- though they also wore tee shirts. I don't believe I've been at a press conference before where someone took off their shirts.

Perdue obviously enjoyed herself. She said she hoped to sometime be able to watch while the Capital Press Corps gets its shots. "It would be such fun," she noted, and speculated on the possibility of giving the shot herself to representatives of the news media who deserve getting the needle, too. Seems fair to me.

State officials aren't sure how many North Carolinians get flu shots annually. The number is rising, but it's probably less than 50 percent, they think. The first batch of H1N1 flu shots won't arrive for a while -- possibly in October, but testing is still going on. It’s not clear yet whether the expected 1 million doses will be enough for that many people, or whether people will need to get two doses, perhaps three weeks apart, meaning the number of initial shots available would serve only 500,000 people. But manufacturers will continue making the shots and more doses will be arriving as they are available.

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