The office of the New York City Mayor issued the following news release:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley received flu shots today at Duane Reade in the Bronx and urged all New Yorkers to get vaccinated before flu season officially begins in New York City. Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory infection that, together with pneumonia, is the third leading cause of death in New York City. Influenza season in New York typically starts in the winter months, peaking in January through March. Getting vaccinated before influenza transmission peaks is the best way to prevent infection from the virus and the suffering that comes with it.
“Nobody enjoys getting a shot, but I’ll tell you what’s even worse – getting sick with the flu,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Every year, New Yorkers lose their lives to the flu and a flu shot is the single most important protection against getting sick and spreading the flu to others. I urge everyone to go to their doctor, local health clinic or pharmacy and get a flu shot as soon as they can.”
“Adults 65 and older, especially those with medical conditions, pregnant women and children under 5 can ward off coming down with the flu by getting vaccinated,” said Health Commissioner Farley. “While maintaining good personal hygiene – washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when ill – helps diminish the spread of the virus, getting the flu vaccine is the best ‘shot’ we have going to prevent flu-related death and illness.”
Influenza symptoms include high fever, dry cough, and all-over body ache. Nationally, influenza is estimated to kill an average of 23,600 people and hospitalize over 200,000 people annually.
Getting vaccinated in New York City has never been easier, and this year’s vaccine is well-matched to flu strains starting to be identified in the U.S. Any New Yorker 18 and over can get vaccinated at their local pharmacy and most pharmacies accept health insurance. The Health Department is working with Walgreens and Duane Reade to ensure that flu vaccination vouchers are available for people who do not have health insurance or who cannot afford the cost of vaccination, typically ranging from $25 to $35 at most pharmacies for walk-in customers. In addition, the City’s BigAppleRx discount prescription drug card offers a discount on flu shots. Flu vaccines are also available from Health Department clinics, and the Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) offers free or low-cost vaccination at all of its hospitals and community health centers.
Anyone can find a nearby vaccine outlet by calling 311 or searching under “flu” or “Flu Clinic Locator” on NYC.gov.