Governor urges people to get flu vaccination
23,377 were hospitalized with flu-related illnesses last flu season
Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is reminding all New Yorkers to get a flu shot during the upcoming flu season, which generally begins in October and runs through May.
During last year’s flu season, there were 23,377 flu-related hospitalizations and 6 pediatric deaths in New York. Over the last four years, there have been a total of 25 pediatric flu deaths in New York State.
“Getting a flu shot still remains the best way to stay healthy during this season,” Governor Cuomo said. “It is critical for all New Yorkers, especially older adults, young children and pregnant women, to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to take other necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus in New York.”
In January 2018, Governor Cuomo signed an emergency executive order allowing pharmacists to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18 during the 2018 flu season. Following the signing of the emergency executive order, pharmacists vaccinated approximately 9,000 individuals ages 2 to 18 against the flu. Subsequently, the governor passed legislation codifying this order into law. Cuomo urges New Yorkers to take advantage of the expanded access and get vaccinated.
A statewide public service advertising campaign launched this week to further remind New Yorkers to get vaccinated. The Department of Health, Office of Children and Family Services, State Office for the Aging and State Education Department will coordinate efforts to target educational materials to those most at risk, including children, pregnant woman and older adults. Additionally, the State Department of Health is providing access to flu educational materials that can be printed and posted to help raise awareness.
The Office of Children and Family Services makes education materials available to all State-licensed child care providers and all State-funded after-school providers about the importance of the flu vaccine. As required by law, all schools and child care programs must have information about the vaccination clearly posted.
To receive a flu shot, people should contact their local health care provider or pharmacy, or find information about vaccination clinics by contacting their local health department.
The flu can cause severe illness. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.
Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People infected with the flu may have respiratory symptoms without a fever. CDC recommends that people who are very sick or people who are sick and at high risk of serious flu complications be treated early with flu antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs work best when started within two days of symptoms first appearing. There are currently no shortages of antiviral drugs, and manufacturers report they expect to meet projected seasonal demands.
“Prevention remains the most effective method to stop the spread of the flu,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, NYS Department of Health commissioner. “Even people who are healthy, if unvaccinated, can easily spread the flu virus to family members, friends or co-workers.”