Next week, Louisiana citizens can help themselves get ready for the upcoming flu season, as well as help the state prepare to respond to a public health emergency (such as release of a chemical or biological agent).

On Thursday, Oct. 25, the Department of Health and Hospitals’ Office of Public Health will make free flu shots available at nine locations throughout the state.

This mass vaccination exercise is a component of the State of Louisiana’s effort to prepare for an emergency that might require all citizens to get a vaccine in a very short period of time. The exercise is a requirement of a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  During the day, health workers will be equipped to provide up to 200 vaccines per hour at each of the nine locations.

According to Dr. Roxane Townsend, LDH Secretary, the drill has both an immediate and long-term benefit to individuals.

“Support from the CDC is making it possible to provide thousands of free flu shots, at just the right time, to citizens who want to prepare for the flu season by protecting themselves with a vaccine. These shots are in addition to the annual flu vaccines that we will still make available to the public,” she said. “Just as importantly, we will be testing our ability to rapidly set up a dispensing site, coordinate medical staff and volunteers, and vaccinate people in a short period of time.”

The free flu shots will be available at the following sites between the hours of 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.:

Alexandria Senior High School
800 Ola Lane
Alexandria, LA  71303

Baton Rouge
Bon Carre Business Center
7173 Florida Boulevard
Baton Rouge, LA  70806

Woodland Park Baptist Church
1909 J.W. Davis Dr.
Hammond, LA  70401

St. Edmond Family Center
4131 W. Congress Street
Lafayette, LA 70506

Lake Charles
Glad Tidings Church
3400 Texas Street
Lake Charles, LA  70607

First Baptist Church
500 Pine Street
West Monroe, LA  71291

New Orleans                    
University of New Orleans, Lakefront Campus
Recreation and Fitness Center
New Orleans, LA

Summer Grove Baptist Church
8924 Jewella Avenue
Shreveport, LA  71118

Thibodaux Civic Center
310 North Canal Boulevard
Thibodaux, LA  70301

On the day of the drill, parish health units throughout the state will have limited operations.  Some services may be reduced or not available on Oct. 25.  Please contact your local health unit to check its status.  The health units will reopen Oct. 26, 2007 with full services.