North Carolina is currently experiencing a slight but worrying surge in COVID cases, according to the North Carolina Respiratory Virus Dashboard. With this in mind, health officials are encouraging all North Carolinians age six months and older to get their fall COVID-19 vaccines along with their flu shot to help slow its spread. https://twitter.com/ncdhhs/status/1703817915424760190 In a recent news release, NCDHHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Cuervo Tilson elaborated on the reasoning behind this increased urgency in getting people vaccinated. "Like the annual flu shot, the fall COVID-19 vaccine provides the most up-to-date protection against the COVID-19 virus and will help us prepare for seasonal viruses that disrupt our lives," Dr. Tilson said. "We encourage everyone to talk with a health care provider about all recommended vaccines. Protect your family so you can enjoy the activities, sports, school and time with loved ones this fall and winter." Health officials suggest that North Carolina citizens who are eligible to receive the vaccine should try to get theirs before the end of October to ensure optimal results. Most insurance plans cover the COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. The state will also receive a limited supply of free vaccines for uninsured or underinsured adults as well. If you're able to get the jab, I strongly encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Although the rise in COVID cases is nowhere near the levels it was two or three years ago, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is urging people in the Tarheel state to take preventative precautions to ward off the spread of new COVID variants. This is especially crucial this time of year when illnesses like the flu are also running rampant. For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, please visit MySpot.nc.gov. You can also call the CDC-INFO Contact Center at 800-CDC-INFO.