NYC Health + Hospitals encourages New Yorkers to get their flu vaccine for further protection during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Flu vaccines are available at more than 60 patient care sites across the five boroughs at no cost. The CDC recommends everyone age six months and older get a vaccination to protect against the flu. Protection against the flu is not fully effective for up to two weeks after getting vaccinated, so delaying vaccination may put individuals and those around them at risk of serious illness. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the flu shot is critical to get this year to help reduce the risks associated from the flu and further fight against a potential co-infection of COVID-19 and influenza viruses. New Yorkers can receive their flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine dose on the same day, on the same arm for convenience. New Yorkers can call 844-NYC-4NYC to schedule their flu shot at a nearby NYC Health + Hospitals facility.
“We urge all New Yorkers to get their flu shot this year—and it’s particularly important for children 6 months and older, pregnant people, and older adults,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “New Yorkers can get a flu vaccine and a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time. With COVID-19 still circulating, now is the wrong time to get the flu, but it’s the right time to get a flu shot.”
“The flu vaccine was important to get prior to the pandemic, but now has a new sense of urgency attached to it due to the ongoing threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Machelle Allen, MD. “By receiving the flu vaccine, as well as other safe and effective vaccines, we’re not only choosing to protect ourselves, but also protecting those around us who may have weaker immune systems or may have higher exposure to such viruses.”
The flu is a serious, highly contagious, and sometimes deadly disease, and the severity of each season is unpredictable, making annual vaccination the best defense against illness. Most New Yorkers will only experience mild discomfort at the injection site on their upper arm. Flu virus can last from about October through May.
According to the CDC, co-infection of COVID and the flu is possible, and could lead to serious symptoms and hospitalizations. Social distancing, face masks, and other preventive measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 can also have an impact on the spread of influenza viruses.
“This year’s flu shot is the second most important step you can take to protect your loved ones, after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You can get them both at the same time and on the same arm! New York City’s public hospitals are making it easy to get your shots to protect you and all New Yorkers, especially elderly people and children who are particularly at risk,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee.
“I got my flu shot like I do every year. It’s very important to prevent co-infection from the flu and COVID-19. I join NYC Health + Hospitals in encouraging every New Yorker to receive a flu vaccine, especially those at high risk for complications and others with certain chronic medical conditions,” said Assembly Member Richard Gottfried of Manhattan, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Health.
“It is so important that all New Yorkers get their flu shots this year so that we can continue to protect each other throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera, Chair of the Committee on Hospitals. “Getting your flu shot is safe, easy, and effective, and New Yorkers can get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine on the same day for convenience. I urge everyone eligible across the Five Boroughs to make a plan to get their flu shot today for a healthy tomorrow.”
NYC Health + Hospitals care sites offering flu vaccines have enhanced infection control measures being implemented to ensure exposure to either viruses are avoided. Measures include:
Screening all personnel (patients, visitors, staff) at point-of-entry for COVID-19 symptoms before entry to facilities;
Ensuring six-feet distance with floor decals in designated areas on-site where flu vaccines are provided to patients; and
Hygiene stations throughout facility with tissue, hand sanitizer and, signage on universal face mask and cough etiquette.
According to the CDC, there are many benefits from getting the flu vaccine, including reducing hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults. As reported by the CDC, the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 to 60 percent. While flu vaccine effectiveness can vary every year, there are still benefits of getting vaccinated.
The flu vaccination is especially recommended for those at risk of developing influenza-related complications. Those at risk include: children under five, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, heart or lung disease, and those over 65 years of age. Health care workers and people who live or work with people at high risk of influenza complications also need a flu vaccine to avoid infecting others.
All NYC Health + Hospitals facilities offer flu vaccination at no charge for patients, visitors, and staff. Read the health system’s facts on fighting the flu. The vaccine is also widely available at commercial pharmacies, doctors’ offices, and City clinics, and is typically free or covered by a co-pay.
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.