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City urges New Yorkers to get the flu vaccine

October 25, 2019 Jonathan Sperling

As the fall weather is closing in, so is the flu season, prompting the city’s Health Department to urge New Yorkers aged six months and older to get a seasonal flu vaccine.

Getting vaccinated this year is especially important, since last year’s flu season was the longest in 10 years, lasting from mid-November 2018 through to mid-April 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As New Yorkers, we look out for each other,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “And there is no better way to look out for your fellow New Yorker — especially those most vulnerable to the flu such as infants, people with compromised immune systems and the elderly — than getting vaccinated against influenza.”

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The Health Department added that is especially important for adults ages 50 and older, pregnant people, children ages 6 months to 5 years, and people with chronic diseases to be vaccinated.

No or low-cost flu vaccines are available at the Health Department’s immunization clinic, as well as at other city clinics, hospitals and pharmacies, like CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Duane Reade and independent pharmacies. New Yorkers can use the Health Department’s online Health Map to find a facility that provides the vaccination.

The tool also displays pharmacies that are enrolled in the Vaccines for Children program, which provides flu vaccines for children — including those on Medicaid and children without insurance — at no cost. An administrative fee may be charged if the child does not have insurance.

“Getting yourself and your child vaccinated as early as possible can help protect both of you from flu-related illnesses, reduce school absences for your child, and prevent the virus from infecting other children and family members,” said Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner David Hansell.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, though some people, especially children, may experience vomiting and diarrhea. It is also possible to be infected with influenza and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

Last flu season, only 47 percent of people ages 18 and older received an influenza vaccination, while 74 percent percent of children under age 5 had been vaccinated, according to Health Department data.

To reduce the chances of spreading influenza germs, the Health Department recommends avoiding close contact with sick people, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, washing your hands often with warm, soapy water and staying home if you are sick with influenza symptoms.

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