Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a public health emergency in New York due to the increasingly severe flu season, which has reached epidemic levels in the United States this year.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nine of the 10 regions of the United States have “elevated” flu activity. New York State falls into one of them.
The declaration now allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between six months and 18 years of age and suspends for the next 30 days the state’s law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer vaccinations only to people 18 and older.
"We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009 and influenza activity in New York state is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City," Cuomo said, according to Reuters.
In New York, the governor's office said 19,128 cases of influenza have been reported this season, compared with 4,404 positive laboratory tests reported for the entire 2011-2012 season.
Cuomo urged residents who had not gotten a flu shot to do so, noting that influenza cases continued to rise in New York.
If you're considering getting a flu shot, here are some northeast Queens locations that offer the vaccine (be sure to call first, as some pharmacies reportedly have run out of the vaccine):
Duane Reade Pharmacy, 257-09 Union Turnpike
Duane Reade Pharmacy, 249-46 Horace Harding Expressway
Duane Reade Pharmacy, 24-28 Horace Harding Expressway
Rite Aid Pharmacy, 39-20 Bell Blvd.
Rite Aid Pharmacy, 43-20 Bell Blvd.