ALBANY, NY (WSYR-TV) - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared a public health emergency in the state due to an increasingly severe flu season.
The governor has issued an executive order which allows pharmacists to administer flu vaccinations to patients between six months and 18 years of age. For the next 30 days, this order suspends the state education law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizations to only those 18 and older.
The governor's office reports that 19,128 cases of influenza have been reported in New York this season. It is far more than the 4,404 laboratory confirmed cases last year.
This season, two children have died from the flu in New York State and 18 have died across the country.
"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," Governor Cuomo said. "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."
Governor Cuomo is urging all New Yorkers who have not yet received the flu shot to get one.
New Yorkers can find a local vaccine provider by visiting http://flushot.healthmap.org/ and entering their zip code. New Yorkers without internet access can call 1-800-522-5006 or through TTY access at 1-800-655-1789 to find a nearby provider.