Bellone: "We are dealing with a brutal flu season and record-breaking hospitalization rates."
Suffolk County, NY - February 26, 2018 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken announced that the Department of Health Services will be providing additional influenza clinics at no charge to residents as this year’s flu continues to cause elevated levels of illness and hospitalization across the country.
“We are dealing with a brutal flu season and record-breaking hospitalization rates,” said County Executive Bellone. “Governor Cuomo has declared a public health emergency, which has enabled us to increase access to flu vaccine to everyone who is six months and older. We urge those who have not obtained their flu shots to take advantage of this offer.”
Reverend Dwight Lee Wolter, who offered his church in Patchogue as a clinic site, said, “This year’s flu is not to be taken lightly. It is not an optional menace, therefore, we ask everyone in our neighborhood to opt in. Get the flu shot not the flu.”
“Concerns about the efficacy of this year’s flu shot should not discourage anyone from being immunized,” said Dr. Tomarken. “Overall effectiveness of the flu shot is 36 percent, which means a vaccinated person’s risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu was reduced by more than one-third. For children six months to eight years old, efficacy against this year’s prevailing strain of flu among children was at 51percent. Young children are particularly vulnerable to flu, so it is important for them to be immunized.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 84 pediatric deaths in the U.S. this year. Suffolk County has had one pediatric death and reports 5,348 total positive flu lab reports to date this year.
Flu shots may still be available at local pharmacies and pediatricians’ and healthcare providers’ offices. For those who are unable to access flu immunization, the Suffolk County Department of Health Services will be providing flu immunizations to all residents six months and older at the following time and location:
Wednesday, February 28, 2018, from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.
Congregational Church of Patchogue
Residents with questions about influenza or the clinics may call 631-787-2200 Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.