New York State Department of Health Urges New Yorkers to Get Annual Flu Shot

Flu Especially A Concern for Older Adults, Young Children, Pregnant Women & Those with Chronic Health Conditions

New York State Weekly Flu Tracker Now Available

ALBANY, N. Y. (November 3, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health reminds all New Yorkers to get their annual flu vaccination during influenza season. The New York State Weekly Flu Tracker is now available to display flu cases across the state.

"Post-pandemic, I, like many New Yorkers, want to live life to the fullest and not miss events due to illness. Flu season is here, now is a good time to get a flu shot," State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "The updated COVID vaccine is also available and can be administered at the same time as the flu shot, giving further protection against these respiratory viruses. And with the holidays coming up, nobody wants to miss out on life's precious moments."

Flu season usually runs October through May, and typically peaks between December and February.

Both flu and COVID-19 are contagious respiratory illnesses that have similar symptoms, making it difficult to distinguish between the two viral infections. Symptoms of both, which can range from mild to severe, include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Respiratory symptoms may be present without fever and some people may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.

The flu vaccine is available to those six months and older. Those aged 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions, young children, and pregnant women are most in jeopardy of developing serious complications, which could require hospitalization and result in death.

The Department suggests some ways to avoid contracting and spreading both viruses, in addition to getting the flu and COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Wash hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to avoid germs and spreading them to others.
  • Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use when soap and water are not available. Choose a product with at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Refrain from coughing or sneezing in hands. Instead, cover the mouth and nose with a tissue.
  • Stay home when sick.
  • Consider wearing a mask that covers the nose and mouth if symptomatic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults over the age of 65 should take additional precautions:

  • Seek medical advice early to see if treatment with antiviral drugs is needed. These types of medications are most effective when given early.
  • Get a pneumococcal vaccine. People who are 65 years of age and older and get the flu are at risk of developing pneumonia.

The Department urges New Yorkers to take necessary precautions to remain healthy and safe this winter and spring.

What You Should Know About the Flu can be found here and where to find flu vaccines in your area can be found here.

The Latest on New York's Response to COVID-19 can be found here and where to find the vaccine in your area can be found here.

Vaccine Safety can be found here.

More information on flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be found here.