Cuomo declares state of emergency for worst flu outbreak in years

A woman walks out of the Premier Care walk-in health clinic which administers flu shots in New York City.

New Yorkers scrambled to get flu shots this weekend after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a public health emergency to combat the rising number of influenza cases in the state.
 
Gov. Cuomo declared the state of emergency late on Saturday giving pharmacists permission to administer flu vaccinations to more people as officials seek to stem the worst flu outbreak in the state in several years.

“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 on Saturday.

Some pharmacies even ran out of flu vaccines, frustrating stressed New Yorkers who lined up for them around the five boroughs.
 
New Yorker Erika Belle said people were pushing and shoving when she tried to get a shot in Midtown. They were told only 20 vaccines remained, she said.
 
“That’s when the pushing to grab the forms started and the panic,” she said.
 
Then, pharmacy employees told them doses had arrived and, “Folks calmed down.”
 
Ten people have died so far this year of flu-related illnesses, according to the Health Department.
 
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data last week reporting that New York City specifically experienced high flu activity.
 
The New York Governor’s office said 19,128 cases of influenza have been reported this season, compared with 4,404 tests for the entire 2011-12 period.
 
A Duane Reade spokeswoman said some of their pharmacies had run out of the vaccine, but promised those stores would have refills within 48 hours.
 
“There are lines,” said Shanay Barrow, a pharmacy technician at the CVS on 34th between Second and Third Avenues, which ran out of the vaccine. “They’re like one after another.”
 
The Health Department has classified January flu activity as “high.” They reported 40 outbreaks and more than 400 people sick. Twenty outbreaks were at long-term care facilities, as were the deaths, a Department spokeswoman said.
 
Health Department data shows flu-related emergency room visits spiking in late December and remaining high until Jan. 5, the most recent data available.
 
Last week, Health Commissioner Thomas Farley urged New Yorkers who hadn’t already to get their shots.
 
“Influenza activity in New York City is increasing, and we encourage any New Yorkers who have not received their flu vaccination to do so immediately,” he said.
 
Walgreens, which owns Duane Reade, said they have already given more flu shots nationwide than all of last season – 5.7 million shots so far.
 
“This season is becoming one of the worst in the decade,” spokesman Calvin Peters said about the city. “This week we have been providing flu shots at a rate that is more typical of October, which is normally the peak time when people get their flu shot.”
 

Running out of vaccines

A pharmacist at a Duane Reade on 34th and Third said Friday they were still stocked with flu shots, but added, “I can’t say for how long.”

Shanay Barrow, a pharmacy technician at the CVS on 34th between Second and Third Avenues, said they ran out of vaccines Thursday and were not expecting a shipment for days.
 
“It’s been overwhelming,” she said of customers coming in “one after another.”  “Everyone’s freaking out.”
 
Last year, she added, they may have given out four or five shots a day. “These days, it’s like 40-some each day.”

Where to get a vaccine?

Vaccines are available at local drugstores, most doctor’s offices and Health Department immunization clinics, Farley said. Call 311 to find out specific locations



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Second Shift: Using her time off to help…

New Yorker Vanessa Bracetty started a non-profit that helps homeless women and children with her sisters.

Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.