ALBANY – A severe outbreak of the flu across New York State has led Governor Andrew Cuomo to declare a State of Public Health Emergency. On Saturday, the Governor issued an Executive Order which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between six months and 18 years of age. This Order suspends for the next 30 days the section of State Education Law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents only to individuals 18 years of age or older.
According to the Governor’s office, nearly 20,000 cases of influenza have been reported this season across the state. That’s more than four times as many as the total of 4,400 reported all of last season (2011-2012). The State Department of Health (DOH) has also received reports of nearly 2,900 patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza. That’s up more than 1700 from last year flu season.
Two children in New York State and eighteen children across the United States and have died as a result of this year’s flu season.
The Governor strongly urges New Yorkers who have yet to receive a flu shot to schedule one immediately, as influenza cases continue to rise sharply across the State. Flu vaccine can be obtained at health care providers’ offices, local health departments, and pharmacies across the state.