BATON ROUGE, La – October isn’t just spooky season – it’s also the ideal time to get your flu shot so you’ll have the best protection against the virus during winter months. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana advises everyone six months and older to roll up their sleeves by Oct. 31.
“Australia just had one of the worst flu seasons in recent years, and what happens in the Southern Hemisphere typically gives us an idea of what to expect here as we head into cooler weather,” said Dr. Larry Simon, Blue Cross medical director. “The winter months are peak season for flu and other respiratory illnesses to spread, so get your flu shot in October for the best protection against severe illness, hospitalization and death.”
Dr. Simon noted that Louisiana and other states are already having above-average rates of children being hospitalized for flu and other respiratory illnesses, so it’s important to take precautions. “The holidays are coming up, and we’re going to want to gather with our families and loved ones, especially because that’s been harder to do amid COVID-19 restrictions in the past couple of years,” he said. “Get your flu shot now so you’ll not only protect yourself from the virus, but you can lower your risk of getting sick and spreading it to others.”
Flu Shot Recommendations
Health officials recommend everyone age six months and older get a flu shot each year. It’s especially important for adults 65 and older, pregnant women, young children and people with long-term conditions like heart disease, diabetes or asthma, who are at higher risk for severe complications or death from the flu.
This year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends adults 65 and older get a higher-dose version of the flu shot for stronger protection than the standard shot. If you are 65 or older, ask your health care provider or pharmacist about getting a higher-dose flu shot.
Blue Cross and most other health plans cover flu shots at $0 or very low cost. Flu shots are widely available at doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies, grocery stores, community health centers and other locations statewide.
For more information, visit BCBSLA.com/Flu.
COVID-19 Vaccine and Boosters
In addition to flu shots, Louisianians should make sure they are up to date on the COVID-19 vaccine and appropriate boosters.
In June, federal health officials recommended the COVID-19 vaccine for anyone six months and older. Children age five and older who have had the original COVID-19 vaccine series should get a booster shot when they are eligible.
Last month, federal health officials recommended an updated COVID-19 booster that protects against newer variants of the virus. This booster is recommended for anyone age 12 and older who got the original COVID-19 vaccine or booster at least two months ago.
Blue Cross covers the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters at $0 out of pocket for eligible members of individual and employer health plans. Eligible members of Medicare and Medicaid plans or uninsured patients also can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine at no cost. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act requires this no-cost coverage. If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
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About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We have been recognized for the past four years as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media @BCBSLA.