Page last reviewed: October 30, 2023

The Houston Health Department encourages flu shots ahead of holiday gatherings

December 6, 2022

Tips to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses

HOUSTON - The Houston Health Department urges people get vaccinated now against the flu to allow the vaccine’s full protection to take effect by the upcoming holidays.

December 5 to 9 is designated as National Influenza Vaccination Week to remind people there is still time to get the vaccine.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 9 out of 10 adults hospitalized with the flu have at least one underlying medical condition.

This flu season began earlier in Texas with cases trending up as early as late August and the beginning of September.  Getting vaccinated soon will further protect children, families, and people with compromised immune systems from becoming sick during the holidays.

People not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or currently eligible for a booster should also get their shots as soon as possible. Everyone 6 months and older is eligible for free COVID-19 vaccination and people 5 years and older are eligible for a booster shot.

It typically takes up to two weeks to build protection after vaccination.

People can also help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses by:  

  • wearing a mask covering the nose and mouth in indoor public settings,   
  • staying six feet from others who don’t live with them,
  • avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, 
  • increasing ventilation by opening windows or doors for fresh air, 
  • washing hands often with soap or using hand sanitizer, and 
  • getting tested for COVID-19 before and after gathering with family and friends.  

The department offers flu shots at its health centers to everyone age 6 months and older with or without insurance. Administration costs are based on a sliding scale fee up to $15 depending on income.

It offers all doses of COVID-19 vaccines to eligible people at its vaccination sites. COVID-19 vaccination is free for everyone regardless of immigration status.

A list of health department vaccination sites is available at or by calling 832-393-4220. Vaccines are also readily available at pharmacies and doctors’ offices.