Flu Still A Danger, So Get Vaccination That’s Now Available
Adults aged 50 and over and other specified groups are encouraged to get a flu vaccination from their own doctor or at a city health clinic, according to an announcement by the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).
In Queens, the vaccinations were available Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Corona Health Center, 34-33 Junction Blvd., between 34th Avenue and 34th Road in Corona or at the Jamaica Health Center, 90-37 Parsons Blvd., between 90th Avenue and Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica on Mondays and Fridays.
“The highest priority is still to ensure that every senior gets vaccinated,” DOHMH Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden said. “Since there is now enough vaccine for them after reviewing our existing vaccine supply, we are asking doctors to loosen their restrictions and now begin offering flu shots to people 50 and over and other groups. There is still time to get vaccinated this season and, even if you weren’t able to get a flu shot before, call your doctor or 311 about getting one now.”
“There have been more than 40 outbreaks of flu in nursing homes and other institutional settings citywide since October, more than were identified all of last season,” Frieden explained.” Since early December, DOHMH has detected a doubling of visits for flu-like illness to area emergency departments in all age groups.”
Population groups eligible for the flu shot include adults 50 and over, all children 6 to 23 months of age, all persons age 6 months and older with chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, pulmonary disorders including emphysema, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, hemoglobinopathies and compromised immune systems due to HIV or immunosuppressive therapy.
The list also includes all women who will be pregnant at any gestational age during the flu season, all residents of nursing homes and chronic care facilities, all children and adolescents age 6 months to 18 years receiving long-term aspirin therapy, health care workers involved in direct patient care, and out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of persons in high-risk groups, for example, persons over or under 65; persons with chronic conditions and children under 6 months of age.
For more information about the flu or getting a shot, call 311 or visit nyc.gov/health/flu.
DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR ‘STAR’ HAS PASSED: Last Wednesday, January 5, was the deadline for New York City homeowners to apply for STAR exemptions from real estate taxes, Governor George Pataki announced that same day. Among those who were to have applied for the benefit were homeowners who had never applied before or had moved to a new address and seniors who had to reapply for the benefit. The applications are handled by the New York City Assessor’s Office or the Department of Finance. Both can be accessed at www.ci.nyc.ny.us/html/dof/html/starex 99.html.
The STAR benefit provides relief from school property taxes for seniors who own their own homes and other homeowners.
To requalify for the “enhanced” STAR exemption, the governor said, seniors must verify that their household income falls under the threshold set under the program. But, he explained, eligible seniors can avoid having to reverify their incomes each year by signing up for the state Income Verification Program, which simplifies the renewal process by enabling seniors to have their incomes automatically verified by the state.
Homeowners who received the basic STAR exemption for school year 2004–2005 and who have not moved are automatically renewed to receive tax relief under STAR and do not need to reapply.