Governor Cuomo declares health emergency, urges residents to get flu shots

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Dr. Jennifer Rich of Peconic Pediatrics examines 15-month-old Ava Curry of Riverhead before administering a second dose of the flu vaccine Friday morning. Toddlers get the vaccine in two doses six weeks apart.

An executive order issued by governor Andrew Cuomo now permits pharmacists to administer flu shots to patients between six months and 18 years of age, according to a press release issued Saturday. Governor Cuomo issued the executive order after declaring a public health emergency for all of New York state due to an increasingly severe flu season.

“We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York State is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City,” Governor Cuomo said in a press release. “Therefore, I have directed my Administration, the State Health Department and others to marshal all needed resources to address this public health emergency and remove all barriers to ensure that all New Yorkers — children and adults alike — have access to critically needed flu vaccines.”

There have been more than 19,000 cases of influenza reported in New York so far this season, thousands more than were reported during last year’s entire season.

Two children in New York state and 18 children nationwide have died as a result of influenza this season.

Hospitalizations due to the laboratory-confirmed influenza have already doubled that of last season’s numbers.

The governor is strongly urging all New York residents to receive or schedule a flu shot immediately as cases rise statewide.

New Yorkers can find a local vaccine provider by visiting http://flushot.healthmap.org and entering their zip code or by calling 1-800-522-5006.

gvolpe@timesreview.com

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