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As Number Of Flu Deaths Rise, Locals Line Up For Vaccines

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The news of the flu’s virulence this year is not the only thing that compelled several men at a Sacramento flu clinic to line up. 

Anthony Garcia, who stopped by on a lunch break because his pregnant wife urged him to, was among them. 

"It concerned my wife... so I figured, happy wife, happy life,” says Garcia, with a laugh.

"Now that I have some other priorities in life, such as a family and things, it’s a little higher priority to stay healthy," he says.

Garcia wasn't the only man who got a flu shot because of a woman, or a family member in his life.

“Lately it’s just been my mother telling me ‘There’s people dying! And there’s people dying like you, very healthy, suddenly,” says 24 year-old Marco Perez.

“I have a little girl now, and I just figured it’s just safer to get one,”  says John Slaughter.

Sacramento-area resident Stephan Dauas says “certainly, all the news has helped me get here, and a little bit of family pressure as well.”

Elizabeth Muise at the Kaiser Permanente clinic said she had her first flu shot ever this year because of the flu death news. 

“I didn’t want to be one of those,” Muise says.

There’s reason to be concerned – the Califonia Public Health Department says the level of flu going around continues to be higher than expected.

So far Los Angeles and Sacramento counties have had the highest number of deaths.  Most of them have involved people with other medical conditions.

California health officials say this year’s vaccine is well matched to the dominant H1N1 virus.  And there’s no shortage of it. 

Officials said the number of influenza deaths among people under 65 years old is twice the total number of deaths during last year's season.

As of the weekend, there were 202 confirmed flu-related deaths for the season, including four children. There are also 41 other deaths under investigation.

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    The number of flu-related deaths has increased again in California -- by 35 in the past week -- bringing the total number of deaths to 278 this season.

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