NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the availability of flu vaccine at its locations across New York City and urges New Yorkers six months and older to get vaccinated early in the season. The CDC recommends everyone age six months and older get a vaccination by the end of October to protect against the virus, though getting vaccinated throughout the flu season can still be beneficial. Protection against the flu is not fully effective for up to two weeks after getting vaccinated, so delaying vaccination until flu season is declared may put individuals and those around them at risk of serious illness. New Yorkers can call 844-NYC-4NYC for an appointment at an NYC Health + Hospitals facility nearby.
“A flu shot is the best defense against the flu and the best time to get one is now, before flu becomes widespread,” said Machelle Allen, MD, Chief Medical Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “There are more than 60 NYC Health + Hospitals patient care sites across the five boroughs and getting a flu shot has never been easier. The shot takes a couple seconds to administer and most patients only experience some discomfort at the injection site.”
The flu is a serious, highly contagious, and sometimes deadly disease, and the severity of each season is unpredictable, making annual vaccination the best defense against illness. Most New Yorkers will only experience mild discomfort at the injection site on the upper arm. Flu virus can begin circulating as early as October and can last through May.
“I got my flu shot a few days ago, like I do every year,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. “I join NYC Health + Hospitals in encouraging every New Yorker to receive a flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for complications from the flu, including children under the age of five, seniors over 65, pregnant women, and others with certain chronic medical conditions.”
“Whether it’s at an NYC Health + Hospitals facility, your place of work, or a drugstore, it’s imperative that every New Yorker gets a flu shot this season and as early as possible. I want to thank NYC Health + Hospitals for providing flu shots to anyone who comes through their door and working to ensure we’re best prepared for this year’s flu season,” said Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Council’s Hospital Committee.
“It is very important that everyone get a flu shot each year to keep themselves and their family members healthy,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. “I encourage every New Yorker to be prepared for flu season and in the City, the NYC Health + Hospitals System can connect you to the care you need.”
According to the CDC, there are many benefits of getting the flu vaccine, including reducing hospitalization for children, working-age adults, and older adults. Studies conducted in 2017 and 2018 confirmed that the vaccine helped in reducing pediatric deaths caused by the flu by 51 percent, and reduced a pregnant woman’s risk of being hospitalized with the flu by an average of 40 percent. While flu vaccine effectiveness can vary every year, there are still benefits of getting vaccinated.
The flu vaccination is especially recommended for those at risk of developing influenza-related complications. Those at risk include children under five, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, and those over 65 years of age. Health care workers and people who live or work with people at high risk of influenza complications also need a flu vaccine to avoid infecting others.
All NYC Health + Hospitals facilities offer flu vaccination at no charge for patients, visitors, and staff. Find a location near you https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/locations and read the health system’s five facts on fighting the flu https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/flufacts. The vaccine is also widely available at commercial pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and City clinics, and is typically free or covered by a co-pay.
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation. We are a network of 11 hospitals, trauma centers, neighborhood health centers, nursing homes, and post-acute care centers. We are a home care agency and a health plan, MetroPlus. Our health system provides essential services to 1.4 million New Yorkers every year in more than 70 locations across the city’s five boroughs. Our diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees are uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. Visit us at nychealthandhospitals.org