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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Health Unit to give flu vaccines at no cost

Health Unit to give flu vaccines at no cost

The Louisiana Department of Health will offer flu vaccines at no cost to the patient at more than 55 Parish Health Units located throughout the state.

Flu vaccines will be offered at no cost on Wednesday, January 31, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Lafourche Parish Health Unit in Galliano, 133 W. 112th St., and Thibodaux at 2535 Veterans Blvd.

The clinics scheduled for Wednesday 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 if you have one.

The vaccine is available to anyone who has not received a vaccine this flu season.

“Louisiana is experiencing a severe flu season and the flu strain we are seeing now is one that typically causes more severe illness, and results in higher hospitalization rates and deaths,” said Dr. Frank Welch, state immunization medical director.

“In more severe seasons, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. We are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the 2017/18 flu season.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Louisiana Department of Health 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.

A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications including babies and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and people 65 years and older.

The flu shot starts to offer partial protection immediately, but takes about two weeks to offer full protection.