As the number of flu cases has increased in the New York State area, Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a public health emergency. This will allow vaccinations to be easily available and will also allow pharmacists the right to give children flu shots. A total of 20,000 cases of the flu have been reported in this state so far which is four times the number compared to last winter.
In line with this emergency pharmacists will be now be able to give flu shots to children as young as 6 months old for the next 30 days. New York law states that pharmacists can only give flu shots to people 18 years and older.
According to Governor Cuomo “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. So far, two children in New York state and at least 10 residents of nursing homes or other long-term care facilities in New York City have died from influenza.”
“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.”
The United States has been battling this recent flu outbreak with the CDC reporting that it is already widespread in 47 states. Although vaccines are available they are not quite effective as the latest data shows that it is only effective in 62% of the cases. It is even less effective when administered to people who are already in a weakened state.
Those living in the New York State are who haven’t gotten their flu shots yet are advised to do so as early as possible to avoid getting infected.