Amid spike, Gov. Cuomo urges New York­ers to get f lu shots

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - Staff re­port

CAP­I­TAL RE­GION, N.Y. >> Gov. An­drew Cuomo is re­mind­ing all New York­ers to get a flu shot as new num­bers re­leased show sharp in­clines in lab­o­ra­tory-con­firmed cases of in­fluenza.

The gov­er­nor also di­rected the Depart­ment of Health to work with state agen­cies and au­thor­i­ties on ways to en­cour­age flu vac­ci­na­tions among state work­ers and their fam­i­lies. The flu sea­son usu­ally be­gins in Oct. and runs through May.

“As flu cases con­tinue to climb across the state, I am urg­ing New York­ers to pro­tect them­selves and their loved ones against this dan­ger­ous virus by get­ting vac­ci­nated,” Cuomo said in a news re­lease.

“The flu shot is still the best way to stay healthy dur­ing this sea­son, and New York­ers should take ad­van­tage of the ex­panded ac­cess to the flu vac­cine and help pre­vent the spread of this virus,”

Cuomo added.

The lat­est in­crease in flu cases comes af­ter State Health Com­mis­sioner Dr. Howard Zucker last week de­clared in­fluenza preva­lent in New York State. The an­nounce­ment put into ef­fect a reg­u­la­tion re­quir­ing that health­care work­ers who are not vac­ci­nated against in­fluenza wear sur­gi­cal or pro­ce­dure masks in ar­eas where pa­tients are typ­i­cally present.

Last week, 1,839 lab­o­ra­to­rycon­firmed in­fluenza cases were re­ported to the State Depart­ment of Health, a 60 per­cent in­crease in cases from the week prior. There have been 4,989 lab­o­ra­tory-con­firmed cases re­ported to the Depart­ment this flu sea­son.

The num­ber of weekly hos­pi­tal­iza­tions has also in­creased, with 328 New York­ers hos­pi­tal­ized for lab-con­firmed in­fluenza, up 32 per­cent from the pre­vi­ous re­port. So far this sea­son in New York, 1,040 flu-re­lated hos­pi­tal­iza­tions and one flu-as­so­ci­ated pe­di­atric death have been re­ported.

“Vac­ci­na­tion is the best way to pro­tect against flu and is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for the most vul­ner­a­ble to in­fluenza, such as the el­derly and very young. I en­cour­age all New York­ers older than six months to get their in­fluenza shot as soon as pos­si­ble,” New York State Depart­ment of Health Com­mis­sioner Dr. Howard Zucker re­marked.

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 State Health Depart­ment rec­om­mends that ev­ery­one six months of age or older re­ceive an in­fluenza vac­ci­na­tion. The vac­cine is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for peo­ple at high-risk for com­pli­ca­tions from in­fluenza, in­clud­ing chil­dren un­der age two, preg­nant women and adults over age 65. Peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, such as asthma and heart disease, are also at greater risk, as are in­di­vid­u­als with weak­ened im­mune sys­tems due to disease or med­i­ca­tions such as chemo­ther­apy or chronic steroid use.

Since in­fluenza virus can spread eas­ily by cough­ing or sneez­ing, it is also im­por­tant that fam­ily mem­bers and peo­ple in reg­u­lar con­tact with high risk

in­di­vid­u­als get an in­fluenza vac­cine.

The Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion con­duct stud­ies each year to de­ter­mine how ef­fec­tive that year’s vac­cine is at pro­tect­ing against in­fluenza-re­lated ill­ness. While the ef­fec­tive­ness can vary from year to year, stud­ies show that the vac­cine re­mains the most ef­fec­tive way to pro­tect pub­lic health. Ad­di­tion­ally, stud­ies show that the in­fluenza vac­cine can make the ill­ness milder in cer­tain cases where an in­di­vid­ual was vac­ci­nated but still con­tracted in­fluenza.

Most health in­surance plans cover in­fluenza vac­cines. In­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies with­out health in­surance should check with their county health depart­ment to find out if lo­cal clin­ics will be held to pro­vide free or low-cost vac­ci­na­tions. Chil­dren two years of age and older and adults may also be able to get their in­fluenza vac­cine at a lo­cal phar­macy.


On Feb. 7, 2018 , a nurse pre­pares a flu shot.

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