Thousands of influenza vaccines have arrived to the ArkLaTex region. But many feel they're not convinced they need a flu shot.
"I've never gotten the flu shot, I don't really plan on it," said Scott LeBlanc. "I've never had the flu."
Dr. Joseph Bocchini said that's not a wise decision. He emphasizes that everyone over six months should be vaccinated, especially young children, senior citizens, and pregnant women. Also, he said people living around babies younger than six months should get vaccinated because newborns can't get the vaccine but they are at greater risk of catching the virus.
"Up to 50 percent of people hospitalized with influenza don't have underlying risk factors, so healthy people who get influence can get sick enough to be hospitalized and have severe complications," said Dr. Joseph Bocchini, of LSU Health Shreveport. He is the Chairman of the Pediatrics Department.
The cost of the flu shot is covered by most private insurance companies. The flu season peaks late fall/early winter so Bocchini stresses that people should get the vaccine now. If a person waits too late, he said they could be exposed to the virus and therefore the vaccine may not function properly.
"It will take at least two weeks, and sometimes up to 4 weeks, before you get a good immediate response to protect you," said Dr. Bocchini. "So, if a person decides to wait until flu season starts, they may get exposed to influenza before the vaccine could work...even if they get vaccine after the first report of influenza."
According to Dr. Bocchini, between 6,000 and 50,000 people die from influenza every year and around 200,000 are hospitalized.
Here are several options for getting your flu shot.
-CVS - $31.99 without insurance
-Walgreens - $31.99 without insurance
-Target - $28
-Caddo Parish Health Department - $10 (will offer in October)