The Suffolk County Health Department will be offering free influenza immunization in Riverhead next week, following recent reports of a sharp increase in flu cases in the state.
According to the New York State Department of Health, during the week ending Jan. 4, the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza reports increased 9% from the previous week, as well as the number of patients hospitalized with laboratory-confirmed influenza, which saw a 34% increase.
“The flu has been on the rise and we want residents to know it is not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can turn into a debilitating disease by getting immunized as soon as possible,” Suffolk County Executive Bellone said in a press release.
The immunizations will be offered on Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Riverhead Free Library and are open to residents who are uninsured or whose health insurance does not cover flu immunization. Children must be at least six months of age. The library is located at 330 Court St.
“We ask residents to obtain immunization against the flu to protect not only themselves but others who may be especially vulnerable to the flu, especially infants who are too young to be immunized, pregnant women, older residents and those with other health conditions that make them more vulnerable to flu,” Health Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said in the release.
Flu activity is high in the U.S. and is expected to continue for weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been 171.7 million doses of flu vaccine distributed through Jan. 3. Flu season typically peaks between December and February, although activity can continue as late as May, according to the CDC.
Flu shots are also available at local pharmacies, pediatricians and health care providers’ offices.
For additional information on flu vaccines, click here.