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Department of Health giving out free flu shots Thursday

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BATON ROUGE - During the holidays, the flu season is at its peak. To curtail the spike in cases the Louisiana Department of Health will be issuing flu shots at no cost at parish clinics throughout the state.

“We have now gotten to where we are one of the highest levels of amongst the state for people who have flu-like activity, and we are seeing the actual diagnosed, confirm cases of flu also increasing. So this is definitely a time where folks should be thinking about getting the vaccine,” Dr. Alex Billioux said.

Around the holidays, when families and friends come together to spend time, doctors tend to notice an increase in flu cases.

“Right around Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, we start to see the cases really increasing. And that’s going to continue really through into February and into March,” Dr. Billioux said.

But the Department  of Health is taking steps to address the problem.

“We are going to be ready to give you a vaccine at no cost to you,” Billioux said.

While some question whether they need the vaccine. Dr. Billioux says skepticism is not the safest path.

“So you are really gambling if you are saying, 'I can make it, I think I will rely on the fact that I am relatively healthy.' You know, this illness can strike you and make you feel really, really terrible,” Billioux explained.

Louisiana has the lowest rate of adult vaccinations. Just last year, 15,000 people were hospitalized and 1,600 deaths were reported. Only five of those deaths involved children.

“That’s one of the reasons why we have a harder flu season, we need folks to go out and get the vaccine,” Billioux said.

Flu shots will be given Dec. 13 from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the East Baton Rouge Health Unit located on 353 North 12 Street.

If you have insurance, bring your insurance card. To check out a full list of where shots are available throughout the state click here.


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