Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a Public Health Emergency Saturday in response to the flu outbreak across the state. The governor issued an executive order, allowing pharmacists to give flu shots to those between six months and 18-years-old.
This order suspends for the next 30 days the section of State Education Law that limits pharmacists from giving vaccinations to only those 18 and older.
Over 19,000 cases of the flu have been reported in New York so far this season.
Governor Cuomo is encouraging anyone who hasn't gotten a flu shot to get one as soon as possible.
In a press release, Cuomo said, "We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City. Therefore, I have directed my Administration, the State Health Department and others to marshal all needed resources to address this public health emergency and remove all barriers to ensure that all New Yorkers - children and adults alike - have access to critically needed flu vaccines."
The NY Department of Health provides to health care facilities a web-based tool kit for influenza vaccination programs:
New Yorkers can find a local vaccine provider by visiting http://flushot.healthmap.org/ and entering their zip code. Call 1-800-522-5006 for more information.
Symptoms of the flu include
- body aches
- coughing and sneezing
Stay ahead of the flu by getting the flu vaccine and practicing good hygiene. This means good hand-washing, covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and clean and disinfect work and home surfaces frequently to prevent the spread of germs.