Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Dallas County health officials are calling for residents to get the flu shot after the number of people testing positive for influenza tripled in three weeks.
The number of people testing positive for the flu more than tripled in Dallas County the past few weeks sparking new calls from health officials for inoculations.
"People die from flu but we've never seen anyone die from the flu vaccine," Dallas County Health Director Zach Thompson said.
In fact, the latest Dallas County flu report now includes the death of a resident in October from flu related illness.
For the week of Nov. 16, the report includes 19 people testing positive for the flu. By Nov. 30 the number rose to 67 positive cases.
Thompson said health officials have been expecting a season increase in flu cases and they started offering free flu shots at the health department months ago to help fight the illness early.
"I think the concern is that residents are not taking the flu shot," Thompson said.
The Health Department still has around 3,000 doses on hand and the vaccine is still widely available at North Texas pharmacies and other health providers.
But Thompson said it could be in short supply in the peak flu months of January and February so residents who have not been inoculated should get the shot now.
"If there's nothing being said, if there's no alarm bells being sounded, then the public just takes a lackadaisical attitude," said County Commissioner John Wiley Price.
Officials also ask people who already have the flu to stay home and get well to avoid sharing the virus with anyone else.