N.Y. Health Department urges New Yorkers to get flu shots as this season's illness rates begin to climb

ALBANY — The New York Department of Health on Monday announced that reported cases of influenza are increasing throughout New York, and flu activity in the state is now considered to be widespread, with laboratory-confirmed cases in more than half the regions. 

Since New York began its annual seasonal flu surveillance this fall, influenza cases have been reported in 47 counties and the five boroughs of New York City. This is consistent with nationwide reporting that shows influenza activity is also increasing in many regions of the country. 

"The early reports of flu cases in New York further emphasize the importance of people getting a flu vaccination now," stated State Health Commissioner Nirav Shah. "A flu vaccination is a safe and effective way to reduce your risk for flu and also protect the health of your family and friends."

Shah reminded New Yorkers who have not been vaccinated for influenza that it's not too late to get their annual vaccination. Healthcare providers and local health departments continue to have ample supplies of flu vaccine. "Most health insurance plans cover flu vaccines," the department stated. "Pharmacists are also able to give flu shots and pharmacies may be an easy and convenient place to receive a flu vaccination."