Flu widespread in New York; officials urge everyone to get vaccine

ALBANY, N.Y. — The state Health Department says influenza is now prevalent in New York state, which means health care workers who haven’t had a flu shot must wear procedural masks around patients.

Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker says everyone over 6 months old is encouraged to get a flu shot as soon as possible. He says the vaccine is especially important for people at high risk of complications from flu, including children under 2, pregnant women and adults over 65.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect against influenza, and is especially important for health care workers,” said Dr. Zucker. “Health care personnel are routinely exposed to sick patients and come in close contact with patients who are most vulnerable to influenza, such as the elderly. I encourage all New Yorkers older than six months to get their influenza shot as soon as possible.”

The agency says there have been over 1,800 confirmed cases of influenza in 54 counties and all boroughs of New York City. More than 600 of those cases required hospitalization.

Influenza season typically runs from October through May, often peaking in February.