With flu season starting, the Louisiana Department of Health is scheduling flu vaccination days in Abbeville on Nov. 7 and Opelousas on Nov. 8. These one-day clinics will allow people to come in and get a flu shot at little or no cost to the patient.
The clinics will be held at the Vermilion Parish Health Unit, 2501 Charity St. in Abbeville from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 7 and at the St. Landry Parish Health Unit, 308 W. Bloch St. in Opelousas from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8.
The flu causes approximately 500 deaths and nearly 3,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. However, last year, there were more than 15,000 hospitalizations and more than 1,600 deaths from the flu in the state. Of those more than 1,600 deaths, 5 were pediatric deaths.
Getting vaccinated not only protects you from the flu, but it also protects those around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, said Dr. Frank Welch, immunization director for the Louisiana Department of Health.
“A flu shot is your best defense in both reducing your chances of getting the flu and spreading it. While the flu vaccine is not perfect and some people who get vaccinated may still get the flu, the vaccine may make the illness milder,” said Welch.
These community flu 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 with you. For those without insurance, the shot will cost $10.
Flu Shot Facts
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health recommend a yearly flu shot for everyone over 6 months of age who does not have a complicating condition, such as a prior allergic reaction to the flu shot.
A flu shot is especially crucial for 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.
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 also 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.