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Hochul reminds New Yorkers to get vaccinated as flu season begins


Wed, Oct 13th 2021 02:45 pm

Releases new PSA encouraging people to get vaccinated for flu and COVID-19

√ COVID-19 vaccine can be received at same time as flu shot

√ Flu cases hit record low in 2020 due to mask wearing and social distancing, show preventive measures for 2021 flu season will be critical

Gov. Kathy Hochul released a new public service announcement encouraging New Yorkers to get both a flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine this season. The COVID-19 vaccine and/or a booster dose can be received at the same time as the seasonal flu shot.

Flu season occurs primarily from October through May, often peaking between December and February.

"Vaccination is the best defense against both the flu and COVID-19," Hochul said. "Getting vaccinated is not just about protecting yourself, it also protects people around you. I urge all New Yorkers to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their family, friends and coworkers from both the flu and COVID-19 viruses."

The New York State Health Department recommends everyone 6 months of age or older receive an influenza vaccination. It says, “The vaccine is especially important for people at high risk for complications from influenza, including children under age 2, pregnant women and adults over age 65. People with preexisting conditions such as asthma and heart disease are also at greater risk, as are individuals with weakened immune systems due to disease or medications such as chemotherapy or chronic steroid use. Since influenza virus can spread easily by coughing or sneezing, it is also important that family members and people in regular contact with high-risk individuals get an influenza vaccine.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "We actively monitor both flu activity and COVID-19 to help protect and raise awareness among New Yorkers, and encourage them to get vaccinated against both infectious diseases. Both of these viruses can cause serious complications that may require hospitalization, so while getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 remains the best way to combat these infections, it's also important to wear a mask, social distance where possible and practice good hygiene in order to stay healthy and reduce hospitalizations."

Learn more at health.ny.gov/flu

Influenza activity data will be available on the New York state flu tracker – a dashboard on the New York State Health Connector that provides timely information about local, regional and statewide influenza activity. Click here for a video demonstration of how to use New York state flu tracker. The New York state COVID-19 tracker is available here.

Hochul’s team said, “Last flu season, flu cases in New York state hit a record low because of people wearing masks, social distancing and practicing frequent handwashing, which are the same public health measures used to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

“In addition to getting a flu shot and staying home when sick, it's essential to practice good hand-hygiene.”

Hochul’s team offered the following tips:

√ Wash your hands often with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds to protect yourself from germs and avoid 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% alcohol.

√ Do not cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, cover your mouth and nose.

All New York state mass-vaccination sites are open to eligible New Yorkers for walk-in COVID-19 vaccination on a first-come, first-served basis. People who would prefer to schedule an appointment at a state-run mass vaccination site can do so on the “Am I Eligible” app or by calling 1-833-NYS-4-VAX.

People may also contact their local health department, pharmacy, doctor or hospital to schedule appointments where vaccines are available, or visit vaccines.gov to find information on COVID-19 vaccine appointments near them. In addition to contacting their provider or local health department to get a flu shot, people can find a flu shot near them here.

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