Health Commissioner Reminds New Yorkers to Vaccinate for Flu

ALBANY, N.Y. (December 07, 2016) - New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker is reminding New Yorkers that it's not too late to get the flu shot this season.

Flu season generally runs from October through May. New York reports low flu activity so far this season with 66 flu-related hospitalizations and no pediatric deaths reported. Over the last four years, there have been a total of 31 pediatric flu deaths in New York State and an average of 9,727 flu-related hospitalizations a year. Dr. Zucker urges anyone who has not been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible.

NYSDOH launched a multi-media public awareness campaign "Don't let the flu sneak up on you. Get a flu shot today" in October of this year.

"The flu can be very serious, especially for children under 2, pregnant women, adults age 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions. Aflu shot now can still protect you and those around you from getting sick," Dr. Zucker said. "Even people who appear healthy, if unvaccinated, can pass the virus along to someone else.

NYSDOH recommends that everyone six months of age or older receive a flu shot. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used this season. Children younger than six months cannot get a flu vaccination in either form.

The flu virus can spread easily through coughing or sneezing. The best protection against the flu for family members and people who regularly come in contact with young children or other individuals at high risk is to get a flu shot. All healthcare workers should be vaccinated against influenza to protect their health and the health of their patients.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting a good match between this year's vaccine and the strains of virus circulating so far this season. The CDC also works with local and state public health agencies and healthcare providers to ensure the vaccine meets the highest safety standards. Flu vaccine is widely available in New York State.

For additional information about influenza, including how it is monitored in New York State, visit: