LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - "You really need to go ahead and get the H1N1 Flu vaccine," said Dr. B.J. Foch with the Louisiana Office of Public Health.
Currently, the vaccine is on the way. But before it is readily available to everyone, certain target groups, that are statistically more susceptible to the virus, will get first priority. They are people six months to twenty-three years of age, women who are pregnant, anyone who lives with an infant less than 6 months old, and finally health care employees.
"We need our healthcare providers to stay at work, to be in the hospitals, and the emergency rooms. It would be really great if they get the vaccine so they can stay at work and not have to miss," said Dr. Foch.
This is an issue that has sparked some controversy around the country, with healthcare workers in New York being forced to take the vaccine. Some are resisting. But locally, while healthcare officials advise that the people on the front lines, the doctors, the nurses, receive the vaccine, it is encouraged but not forced.
"Certainly we are strongly encourage it, not only to prevent infection in themselves, but in their co-workers, patients and in their families. This is for the good of the community. But, there is no plans to mandate any employees to get the vaccine," said Kevin Mocklin, Director at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital.
Christus St. Patrick hospital also said they will offer the vaccine to their employees, but again, it will not be mandatory.