Flu Shots Essential to Reducing Impact of Respiratory Illnesses during COVID-19 Pandemic
Vaccine Offered by North Oaks Protects Against Four Strains Predicted Most Prevalent
[HAMMOND, La.] – As influenza season approaches in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the flu vaccine is expected to play an essential role in protecting your health and reducing the impact of respiratory illnesses within the community and strain on the nation’s health care system, according to North Oaks Infectious Disease Physician Stacy Newman, MD.
“Southeast Louisiana’s flu season usually peaks between October and March, and getting vaccinated every year remains the single best way to protect against the flu,” Newman explains. “Due to COVID-19, we are encouraging everyone, six months of age and older, to get vaccinated against the flu. Acquiring either COVID-19 or influenza could negatively impact your overall respiratory health. The combination of both infections in a short timespan would significantly impact your ability to fully recover. Why take the risk?”
No appointments are necessary to receive flu shots at North Oaks Walk-In Clinics in Hammond and Walker and North Oaks Primary Care & After Hours Clinic in Ponchatoula. Flu shots are offered for adults and children, age 6 months and older, including a specific vaccine for those 65 and older. Select North Oaks primary and specialty clinics in Hammond, Livingston and Independence also are providing both types of flu shots. To locate the clinic convenient to you, call North Oaks Physician Group at (985) 230-APPT  or toll-free at (844) APPT-NOW [277-8669]. You also may visit www.northoaks.org/flu.
North Oaks is offering the preservative-free, quadrivalent vaccine. It offers protection against the four strains of the flu virus projected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be most prevalent for the 2020-2021 season: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus and two influenza B viruses.
Most health insurance plans are accepted, and many may cover the vaccine as a preventive service at no cost to you and covered family members. To verify acceptance of your plan and preventive service coverage, contact your insurance provider. Self-pay options also are available by request.
All North Oaks facilities are taking extra precautions to keep patients and health care professionals safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. All outpatients and staff are required to wear masks, and temperature checks are done at all entry points. Providers are equipped with all of the necessary personal protective equipment recommended for individual patient care, and physical distancing is observed.
· North Oaks Walk-In Clinic in Hammond, located at 1900 S. Morrison Blvd. (within North Oaks Rehabilitation Hospital), is open weekdays 7 a.m.-8 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
· North Oaks Primary Care & After Hours Clinic, located at 530 W. Pine St., Suite 1, in Ponchatoula is open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays.
· North Oaks Walk-In Clinic in Walker, located at 28050 Walker S. Road, Suite L, is open
7 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays.
· Hours of operation for other participating North Oaks primary and specialty clinics are
8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays.
Vaccination of high-risk individuals is especially important to decrease risk of severe flu illness. Vaccination also is important for health care workers, those who live with or care for high-risk individuals, as well as caregivers of and those who live with infants younger than six months.