Borough President James Oddo has partnered with CVS and Rite Aid for a “Family Flu Shot” Campaign to encourage Staten Islanders to get their annual Flu Shot. Staten Islanders can visit www.statenislandusa.com/flu2020 to a find location near them to make an appointment for a Flu Shot. New Yorkers can also text “FLU” to 877877 for more information about where to find flu shots close to home. Many shots are free, while many providers also accept insurance.
This fall and winter, the flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 may both be spreading. For that reason, getting a flu shot will be more important than ever to help people stay healthy and to ease the burden on our health care system. Although the flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, it will help individuals stay healthy by decreasing the risk of getting sick and needing flu-related medical care.
“As we face another flu season while also battling COVID-19, this year it is especially important to get your annual flu shot. If you might be at risk of complications or are in close contact with friends and family members with underlying health conditions, take this step to not only protect yourself but protect those you care for,” said Borough President Oddo.
The seasonal flu (influenza) is an upper airway and lung infection that causes fever, cough, sore throat and can cause severe illness or complications like pneumonia and in some cases, death. Children may get sinus problems and ear infections. An annual flu shot is recommended for almost everyone 6 months and older. It is one of the best ways to reduce flu illnesses, hospitalizations and death from flu.
Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious health conditions and complications from the flu, so it is especially important for them to get the flu shot - each year, as the shot is different depending on the strain of flu. Children younger than 5, especially those under 2; people 50 and older, especially those 65 and older; and pregnant women can be at increased risk of complications from the flu.
Additionally, those with any underlying medical conditions can be at increased risk, including:
- Asthma, emphysema or any other chronic breathing disorders
- Heart, kidney or liver disease
- Blood disorders, such as sickle cell anemia
- Weakened immune system, from illness or medication
- Neuromuscular disorders that interfere with breathing or the discharge of mucus
- Long-term aspirin therapy in people under 19
- Obesity (a Body Mass Index of 40 and over)
- People living in nursing homes or other care facilities
- American Indians and Alaskan Natives
Caregivers, healthcare workers, and those in close contact with people who belong to a high-risk group should be sure to get a flu shot each year.
It is estimated that every year in the United States, about 5% to 20% of the population gets flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications. Each year, more than 2,000 New Yorkers die from flu-related illness.