With the weather cooling down, New York City is ramping up its efforts to get New Yorkers vaccinated for the seasonal flu.
Today, the Health Department announced a campaign with the tagline, “This year’s flu vaccine could be the most important one you ever get,” that will be run citywide on public transport, local businesses and mainstream and social media. The campaign will be run in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese and in additional languages for newspaper ads.
Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi said the flu was deadly in any normal year, and 2020 was all but normal.
“Influenza continues to circulate in our communities, and it has many of the same symptoms as COVID-19,” he said. “Our friends and neighbors, particularly the most vulnerable New Yorkers, are counting on everyone to get their flu vaccine.”
The City is urging everyone older than 6 months to get the vaccine, especially those 50 and older, pregnant people, children ages 6 months to 5 years and people with chronic diseases.
Annually, about 2,000 people die from seasonal influenza and pneumonia, which can develop as a complication of flu. In 2017, it was the third leading cause of death in NYC.
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Commissioner Lorelei Salas said this year it was more important than ever to get a flu shot, and if people were sick they needed to stay home to keep everyone safe.
A number of community health centers and hospitals provide no or low cost flu vaccines and vaccines are also available at a number of pharmacies. NYC Health + Hospitals and community health centers will offer flu vaccines at COVID testing sites and on weekends.
Symptoms for flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people, especially children, may have vomiting and diarrhea.