HOUSTON (KIAH) — The Houston Health Department wants everyone to protect themselves and their families against the flu by getting vaccinated.

The department is now offering flu shots to everyone 6 months and older with or without insurance. The administration costs are based on a sliding scale. The fee could be up to $15 depending on income. HoustonHealth.org has a list of locations.

“I urge people to get the flu shot this year as we could see a more severe season than in years past,” said Dr. David Persse, chief medical officer for the City of Houston. “Over the last two years many people have been isolating because of the pandemic, leaving a low herd immunity for us to control an outbreak, should we have one.”

Typically, flu outbreaks happen as early as October and can last into late May. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people get vaccinated in September and October to give the vaccine time to build up a person’s immunity.

This year, the CDC is also recommending the high-dose vaccine for people 65 years and older. That is because this age group – along with young children, pregnant women, and those with chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease – are most at risk for experiencing severe complications if they get the flu.

Besides the department’s health centers, people can also receive the shot during a visit to their doctor, a neighborhood pharmacy, their local health department, or at many area grocery stores.

Health experts have confirmed people can receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines at the same time but in different arms.

Stop the spread

In addition to vaccination, people can help stop the spread of the flu and other illness by:

  • Washing hands frequently
  • Covering coughs and sneezes
  • Staying home if sick and at least 24 hours after their fever is gone, except to get medical care.

Know the symptoms

The flu is a contagious disease with symptoms ranging from a fever, headache, and fatigue, to a cough, nasal congestion, sore throat, and body aches. People with these symptoms should seek medical attention.  

Most people recover in one to two weeks, but some develop complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. Flu also can make chronic medical conditions worse.

Get the shot

To find the nearest City of Houston Health center and to set an appointment, call 832-393-5427. 

Health center locations and hours of operation are also available at HoustonHealth.org or through the City of Houston’s 311 Help and Info line.