With 20,000 cases of the flu reported in New York state already, Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency Saturday.
The governor's action means pharmacists can begin giving flu shots to children older than 6 months. Other than in emergencies, pharmacists are limited to giving the shots to people over the age of 18.
Jefferson and Lewis counties have reported 957 cases to date, compared to a total of 78 last flu season.
Statewide, the number of flu cases is four times higher than normal.
“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 in a statement.
“Therefore, I have directed my Administration, the State Health Department and others to marshal all needed resources to address this public health emergency and remove all barriers to ensure that all New Yorkers - children and adults alike - have access to critically needed flu vaccines.”
In general, health experts say getting a flu shot remains the most valuable step you can take to protect yourself.
On Friday, the Centers For Disease Control said flu had reached epidemic proportions across the country, although there were some indications caseloads were peaking, the New York Times reported.
Friday, May 22, 2015, Watertown, NY
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