Westchester County Briefing 10/1/2020: Watch full briefing here: https://youtu.be/zqE3FYj1RXM
Following his weekly Covid-19 briefing, Westchester County Executive George Latimer rolled up his sleeve and got a flu shot at the Westchester County Department of Health in White Plains. Standing with Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler, MD, the two encouraged all Westchester County residents to get a flu vaccine this year, because it is one more effort we all can take to protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Latimer said: "We all know that 2020 has proven to be a challenging year for our health and safety. We have been faced with an unprecedented pandemic – one that has made many of our friends and neighbors sick in a way unlike anything we've seen before. Don't put off your flu shot any longer, make an appointment to get vaccinated today."
Flu shots are available from many area pharmacists and medical offices. Residents should check with their health care provider or a local pharmacy chain to find a location, or you can use this Vaccine Finder link to find a pharmacy near you that provides flu vaccine.
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The vaccine will be especially critical to reduce flu this season because it will help to prevent diagnostic confusion between the flu and COVID-19. The symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are very similar, and without a vaccination, it will be more difficult for doctors to determine how to treat your symptoms. A flu shot will also prevent people from becoming infected by the flu and COVID-19 at the same time, which can be dangerous.
Amler said: "With all that we continue to face in battling the spread of Covid-19, getting vaccinated is one thing we can do to help keep each other safe this flu season. Getting your flu shot will ultimately lessen the strain on our healthcare system during the COVID-19 pandemic, and will help keep people out of local hospitals. When healthier people get an annual flu shot, they help protect the people around them, including infants too young to be vaccinated, seniors and people with chronic health conditions, who are more vulnerable to flu complications."
Flu activity is usually highest between December and February, but can last into May. One flu vaccine now provides protection all season long and can prevent illness or reduce the severity of flu symptoms. The vaccine becomes fully effective after about two weeks.
Amler said that anyone who does get a respiratory infection should cough or sneeze into their elbow, wash their hands frequently with soap and water, stay home until 24 hours after their fever subsides to avoid spreading germs, clean surfaces they touch frequently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones, and get plenty of rest.
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Mayor Bramson Joined Stop and Shop Pharmacists in Call for Residents to Get their Flu Shots
In September, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, received his flu shot from Stop & Shop Pharmacists at the New Rochelle Stop & Shop and called on residents of his city, which was the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, to get their flu shots as early as possible this fall. Although New Rochelle's local infection rate has declined significantly since the spring, more than 3,200 people in New Rochelle have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
"It's important to get a flu shot every year, but even more so this year due to the convergence of both flu and coronavirus this fall," said Stop &Shop Manager of Pharmacy Operations, Lina Boiano. "Reducing flu is going to be extremely important this year and Stop & Shop has worked to ensure that we have enough vaccinations available in all pharmacies to keep our communities safe this fall."
"Getting a flu vaccine is the best way to keep yourself healthy, while also ensuring that our health care system has the capacity to treat those most in need," said Mayor Bramson. "Having taken aggressive measures to confront COVID, New Rochelle understands the high stakes better than almost any community in America, so let's once again act responsibly by getting ourselves vaccinated."
The CDC suggests everyone 6 months and older receives a vaccination in advance of the flu season. Stop & Shop is taking extensive health and safety precautions at its pharmacies and has secured additional stock of the flu vaccine, anticipating higher demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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