Gov. Edwards, LDH Officials Get COVID Boosters and Flu Shots, Encourage All Eligible to Go Sleeves Up Against the Flu

Published 6:27 am Thursday, October 7, 2021

BATON ROUGE — Gov. John Bel Edwards, Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips and Louisiana State Health Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter went sleeves up at the Baton Rouge General Hospital to get their flu shots and – if they were eligible – their COVID-19 booster doses.

It is safe, effective and efficient for people to get their flu shots when they get their COVID-19 booster doses, if they are eligible for a booster. Currently, the CDC reports that nearly 46 percent of Louisianans are fully vaccinated against COVID and 52 percent, more than 2.4 million people, have taken at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

“Today, I took both my flu shot and my COVID-19 booster shot, because I want to protect myself and the people around me from spreading both of these illnesses this fall and winter,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards, who has now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu. “Each year, thousands of Louisianans get the flu and hundreds may even die from it. Thankfully, we have very safe, easy-to-get flu shots so that we can slow the spread. Right now, Louisiana is hopefully over its fourth COVID-19 surge and COVID hospitalizations are dropping each day. That is good news, but we cannot afford to have a bad flu season on top of our current COVID caseload. So, please, get your flu shot. Do it this month if you haven’t already. Bring your kids to get theirs as well. Together, we can keep ourselves and our communities healthy.”

“The best way to protect our children this flu season is to make sure they get their annual flu shot, and that we as their parents get ours,” said Louisiana Department of Health Secretary Dr. Courtney Phillips. “It’s why it’s so important to me that I am here today with my son, Langston, getting our annual flu shots together. He’s not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine but this is one important step in keeping him safe while we respond to both the flu and COVID-19.”

“This flu season we find ourselves once again in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Louisiana Department of Health recommends that everyone who is eligible gets their flu shot, and we recommend that everyone who is eligible gets their COVID-19 vaccine. It is medically safe and appropriate to get both at the same time. Talk to your doctor if you have questions,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter, state health officer.

“Just like we have seen with COVID-19, people with certain underlying or chronic health conditions are more at risk to have serious complications from the flu,” said Edgardo Tenreiro, CEO of Baton Rouge General. “But at any age and regardless of other medical conditions, we know that it’s possible to get both the flu and COVID-19 at the same time. Either one alone could put you out of work or school for quite a while, and that is a scenario we want to avoid as much as possible.”

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get the flu shot by the end of this month, if possible. It can take some time for your body to recognize and respond to the vaccine.

Getting a flu shot has never been easier. The flu shot is currently widely available at doctor’s offices and pharmacies, and in the next several days, the flu shot also will be available at our parish health units. Louisianans who would like to help LDH prepare for future emergencies can get their flu shots at our annual Mass Vaccination Exercises happening all over the state later this month. This year, those Mass Vaccination Exercises will be offering flu and COVID shots.

The good news is that the everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of the flu are the same as those that we’ve been asking you to take to stop the spread of COVID-19. These include:

  • Wear a mask indoors in public while Louisiana gets through its fourth COVID surge
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.

FACTS ABOUT THE FLU SHOT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and LDH 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 six months and older 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.

You cannot get the flu from the flu shot, but some people may have mild reactions, like low grade fever, headache or fatigue after receiving their flu shots. These are common reactions following a vaccine and typically do not last for very long.

Anyone with questions about the flu shot or COVID-19 vaccine, including where they can find a provider near them, can call 211.

To learn about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit ldh.la.gov/covidvaccine/.

While receiving your flu shot, inquire about other vaccinations that you may need.