You No Longer Have to be "High Risk" to Get One
Albany (WALK) - With swine flu still widespread across New York, Governor Paterson said yesterday that there is now enough H1N1 vaccine at hand to open vaccinations to just about anyone who wants one.
New Yorkers age 6 months and older are now eligible to get vaccinated, according to the Governor. Health officials had been giving priority to certain groups, including pregnant women, health care workers, and those between the ages of 4 and 24.
“As we enter the holiday travel season, it is important to provide vaccine to as many people as possible, " said Governor Paterson. "During this busy period, I encourage New Yorkers to take time to get vaccinated against the flu.
New York got only about 23 percent of its anticipated supply of the H1N1 virus vaccine in October, the first month it became available. State Health Commissioner Richard Daines says that they are now getting weekly vaccine shipments that are double the volume of earlier allocations.
“With the supply of vaccine increasing, I urge New Yorkers to take advantage of the opportunity to protect themselves and their families against the flu,” Dr. Daines said. “While the flu is very unpredictable, typically we see the most flu activity during the next three months. Getting vaccinated in the next month will provide protection against a possible third wave of the H1N1 flu this winter and spring.”
Health officials say that the H1N1 vaccine is as safe and effective as the ordinary seasonal flu vaccine and is developed using the same process as seasonal vaccine. Flu vaccines have consistently had excellent safety records over the last several years, as documented in multi-year studies. The Centers for Disease Control, which conducts surveillance for vaccine-related adverse events, issued a report December 4 on the safety of the H1N1 vaccines that found no substantial differences between the safety of the H1N1 vaccines and that of seasonal flu vaccines.
Public health officials emphasize that getting a vaccine is much safer than getting the flu. CDC Director Thomas Frieden announced yesterday that there have been nearly 10,000 deaths nationwide since the H1N1 outbreak began earlier this year, including 1,100 children.
"There have been, we estimate, nearly 50 million cases, mostly in younger adults and children [and] more than 200,000 hospitalizations, which is about the same number that there is in a usual flu season," said Dr. Frieden.
Your regular health care provider may be the best option for getting vaccinated. Many county health departments are also conducting public vaccination clinics. More information about H1N1 flu, including where to locate flu vaccine, is available at www.nyhealth.gov
. You can also call your county department of health. In Suffolk, call (631) 787-2200 and in Nassau, call (888) 684-4271.