Flu Vaccine Available So Get Your Shot Now
Flu Vaccine Available
So Get Your Shot Now
With the height of the flu season expected in January or February, the mayor and city health officials launched a public education campaign last week urging New Yorkers over 50 "Don’t Get the Flu—Get the Shot."
This message will be flooding the air waves and will appear on buses, telephone kiosks and subways throughout the city using some famous faces such as former New York Knicks start Walt "Clyde" Frazier, actor Tony Randall and singer Eartha Kitt.
According to an announcement released by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, "Persons at high risk for serious influenza infection include: anyone aged 65 or older; nursing home and chronic care facility residents; individuals with heart, circulatory, lung or kidney problems including renal failure and asthma; diabetics or sufferers from other metabolic diseases, cystic fibrosis or hemoglobin abnormalities including "low blood"; people with lowered resistance to infection because of cancer, medical treatment or immune system diseases including HIV and children up to age 18 who are on long-term aspirin therapy."
The Health Department also put in a special toll free flu information line—(866) FLU-LINE (866-358-5463)—and set up a new section of the city’s web site—(nyc.gov/health)—to provide information on where individuals can get vaccinated free of charge.
In his announcement, the mayor noted there had been a nationwide flu vaccine delay in recent months, so 42,000 doses of the vaccine were used for individuals in greatest need.
Over 42,000 doses of flu vaccine were sent to nursing homes and hospitals, used for high-risk children, and ambulatory care and community clinics.
In addition, the Health Department distributed 25,000 flu shots to seniors who attend the city’s senior centers.
The Health Department also continues to give free flu shots at its walk-in clinics located in the five boroughs throughout the flu season. And the City Health and and Hospitals Corporation offers free flu injections at its hospitals and Communicare clinic sites.
City Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Neal Cohen stated: "With the height of the flu season expected in January or February we have a much smaller window than usual in which to see New Yorkers get vaccinated. I encourage all New Yorkers over 50 to protect themselves from the flu and pneumonia this year by getting their shots now because the flu shot takes about one week to become fully effective and the pneumonia shot takes somewhat longer."
The mayor’s announcement also issued cautionary notes connected with the flu shots.
People at high risk for the flu should also consider getting the pneumonia shot.
Children who have the flu should not be given aspirin because they could be at risk of developing Reyes Syndrome, a serious illness. Aspirin substitutes such as acetaminophen may be given instead.
People allergic to eggs, women who might be pregnant, anyone with a high fever and those who have had Guillain-Barre Syndrome should consult with their doctor before getting a flu shot.