With flu season starting, the Louisiana Department of Health reminds all residents of the importance of getting an annual flu vaccine.

The flu causes approximately 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana, and tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S.

“We’re seeing flu activity early this year and an annual flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu, which can be very serious even deadly,” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “Flu shots have been proven time and time again to be both safe and effective, and I encourage everyone to take this important step to protect their communities this flu season.”

Click here to read more about how dangerous the flu can be for young children.

Flu Vaccination Clinics

The Louisiana Department of Health will be holding flu vaccination clinics during the months of October, November and December.

DATE

TIME

LOCATION

CITY

October 16

1 – 6 p.m.

  Warren J. Harang Jr. Municipal Auditorium

Thibodaux, LA

October 18

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Winn Parish Health Unit

Winnfield, LA

October 20

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Avoyelles Parish Health Unit

Marksville, LA

October 20

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Concordia Parish Health Unit

Ferriday, LA

October 20

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Rapides Parish Health Unit

Alexandria, LA

October 20

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Vernon Parish Health Unit

Leesville, LA

October 25

7 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Lafayette Parish Health Unit

Lafayette, LA

October 26

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Catahoula Parish Health Unit

Jonesville, LA

October 26

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  Grant Parish Health Unit

Colfax, LA

October 26

1 – 6 p.m.

  Ouachita Parish Health Unit

Monroe, LA

October 30

8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

  LaSalle Parish Health Unit

Jena, LA

November 1

2 – 5:30 p.m.

  First United Methodist Church of Bossier City

Bossier City, LA

November 7

9 – 11 a.m.

  Burton Coliseum

Lake Charles, LA

November 11

7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

  Franklin Ave. Baptist Church

New Orleans, LA

November 29

9 a.m. - 2 p.m.

  Florida Parishes Arena

Amite, LA

December 2

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

  Bon Carre Business Center

Baton Rouge, LA

 

These clinics are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome. Wear short or loose-fitting sleeves and bring your private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card. There is no cost for a flu shot with proof of insurance. For those without insurance, the cost is $10.

Annual Flu Shot Recommendation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Heath recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over six months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.

While recommended for everyone, getting a flu shot is especially crucial people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. This includes babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.

Dr. Frank Welch, medical director for the Louisiana Department of Health Immunization Program, said while the flu shot protects individuals from getting the flu, it also keeps people from spreading it to others who are more vulnerable.

“Some people are not eligible for a flu shot, which makes it especially important that others in the community get vaccinated,” Welch said. “Although a young, healthy person might not get very sick from the flu, they can be a carrier and pass it on to someone in a high-risk group who might become seriously ill.”

Welch added the flu shot is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, who can pass on antibodies to their babies that will help protect them.

The flu shot starts to offer partial protection immediately, but takes about two weeks to offer full protection. Flu shots are now available at local pharmacies, clinics, doctor’s offices and federally qualified (community) health centers. Check flushot.healthmap.org for a flu shot provider near you. Visit www.ldh.la.gov/fighttheflu for more information and resources.

The nasal flu spray has been shown to be ineffective over the past several years, and is no longer recommended by the CDC.

 

The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state residents. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.la.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH's Twitter account, Facebook and blog.