Because of high flu numbers across the state, the Department of Health is offering free flu shots on January 31st at more than 55 Parish Health Units across the state.

Louisiana DOH said that the vaccine will be available to anyone who has not gotten a vaccine this flu season from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Caddo, DeSoto and Bossier health units will be offering the free shots.

State immunization director Dr. Frank Welch says

Louisiana is experiencing a severe flu season and the flu strain we are seeing now is one that typically causes more severe illness, and results in higher hospitalization rates and deaths. In more severe seasons, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana. We are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the 2017/18 flu season.

The Louisiana DOH said that "community flu clinics that are scheduled for next Wednesday are open to the public, and walk-ups are welcome."

LDOH asks that those who want a flu shot, wear short or loose-fitting sleeves and bring your private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare card if you have one.

“In more severe seasons, the flu causes approximately 700 deaths and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations each year in Louisiana," Dr. Frank Welch said in a statement. "We are already on track to meet and possibly exceed these statistics for the 2017-18 flu season.”