CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., got her flu shot Thursday and encouraged others to get vaccinated, too, with the flu season now started.

“The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent serious illness and help stop the spread of the flu, especially for vulnerable populations like young children and people 65 and older,” said Secretary Cohen. “If you have not gotten your flu shot yet, don’t delay and be sure to make a plan to get one soon.”

Secretary Cohen received her shot at a DHHS employee flu clinic held inside the Dorothea Dix Campus in Raleigh, Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control says 27,000 children are sent to the hospital each year because of the flu.

People at highest risk of complications from the flu include adults 65 and older, young children ages six months to five years, pregnant women and people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

Of the 219 flu deaths reported in the state during the 2016-17 season, more than 150 cases involved a man or woman 65 or older.

Right now, DHHS says flu activity is "low" in North Carolina and the vaccine is in good supply. It takes a full two weeks before the vaccine is fully effective.