October 17, 2019
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Reminds New Yorkers Now is the Time to Get a Flu Shot

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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today reminded all New Yorkers to get a flu shot to prepare for the upcoming flu season, which usually begins in October and runs through May. During the 2018-19 flu season, there were 18,768 flu-associated hospitalizations in the state and six pediatric deaths. The Governor received his flu shot on Friday.

 

"The flu impacts every corner of this state and each year we remind New Yorkers that getting a flu shot is their best protection against the virus," Governor Cuomo said. "I urge everyone to get vaccinated and to assist their loved ones with receiving the flu shot, especially older adults, young children and pregnant women."

 

The New York State Department of Health recommends that anyone over six months of age get a flu vaccination to protect themselves and others during the upcoming flu season. Adults aged 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children and pregnant women are among those at highest risk for serious flu complications, which may require hospitalization and could result in death. Since the flu virus can spread through coughing or sneezing, it is especially important for family members and people who have regular contact with high-risk individuals to be vaccinated.

 

Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Getting a flu shot only takes a few minutes and continues to be the best way to help prevent the spread of the flu among family members, friends and co-workers. Vaccines are safe and effective and it is very important for all New Yorkers to get vaccinated, even when you're not at high-risk." 

 

Over the last four years, there have been a total of 25 pediatric flu-associated deaths in New York State and an average of 16,018 flu-related hospitalizations each year. In January 2018, during the severe 2017-2018 flu season, Governor Cuomo signed an emergency executive order allowing pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine to children ages 2 to 18. Subsequently the Governor passed legislation codifying the order into law. During the 2018-2019 flu season more than 31,000 flu shots were administered by pharmacies to children under the age 18.

 

Influenza activity data is available on the New York State Flu Tracker. The Flu Tracker is a dashboard on the New York State Health Connector that provides timely information about local, regional and statewide influenza activity. The first report of the 2019-2020 flu season will be posted later today. Click here for a video demonstration of how you can use New York State Flu Tracker.

 

Heeding Governor Cuomo's guidance, at the Beltrone Living Center in Colonie Dr. Zucker and Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging, received their flu shot and spoke to older adults about the importance of getting vaccinated. See photos here.

 

Office for the Aging Acting Director Greg Olsen said, "I commend Governor Cuomo for leading by example in getting an annual flu shot. It is very important for all New Yorkers, especially older adults, to get vaccinated against the flu. Our immune systems are more easily compromised as we age, and older adults, especially those with chronic health conditions, have an increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu. Getting the flu vaccine helps prevent the spread of the virus and offers vital protection for older adults and caregivers, furthering our ongoing efforts as the first certified age-friendly state to become the healthiest state, as well."

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults over the age of 65 should take additional precautions:

  • Seek medical advice early to see if you need treatment with antiviral drugs. These medications are most effective when given early.
  • Get a pneumococcal vaccine. People who are 65 years of age and older and get the flu are at risk for developing pneumonia.
  • In addition to getting a flu shot, all New Yorkers are reminded to practice good hand-hygiene.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid spreading them to others.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue.

 

For additional information about influenza, visit: http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/influenza/seasonal/.

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