|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2007
City Public Hospitals to Offer Flu Shots and Preventive Health Screenings in October
"Take Care NY" Campaign urges New Yorkers to
"Get Screened. Stay Healthy."
New York City – The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) will offer all New Yorkers flu shots and health checks for many chronic diseases at public health fairs throughout the month of October in 11 hospitals and dozens of community health centers in every borough. The flu vaccinations and screenings for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma, depression, HIV and more are available for little or no cost as part of the HHC "Take Care New York" campaign to get more children and adults into preventive health services.
"Our message is very simple -- taking a few minutes to get a flu shot and a preventative health check can help add years to your life," said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. "Unfortunately, we have found that many people do not take the time to get screened or vaccinated. The multi-language Take Care New York Campaign helps New Yorkers identify life-threatening and chronic diseases in their early stages when they are more readily treated and managed."
In addition to the flu vaccinations and health tests, the Take Care New York screening events will feature information and education on disease prevention. Many fairs will also include rapid HIV testing, offer appointments to get cancer screenings and feature life-style improvement sessions such as healthy aging, smoking cessation, weight loss, nutrition and exercise.
The health screenings and flu shots are available to all New Yorkers regardless of immigration status or ability to pay. Individuals without health insurance will be able to get help on site to apply for any health insurance plan they may qualify for or learn how to access affordable healthcare services at HHC hospitals and clinics. New Yorkers can dial 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/hhc to find a complete list of HHC facilities and other helpful health information.
The month long campaign will feature English and Spanish-language radio ads as well as public service ads in neighborhood movie theaters across the five boroughs and in the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
Flu shots, screening tests, early detection and early treatment can help New Yorkers address these health challenges facing NYC:
- Heart disease is the #1 cause of death regardless of race, ethnicity or gender.
- Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death.
- Diabetes in NYC has doubled in the past 10 years; 530,000 adult New Yorkers know they have diabetes; some 265,000 have it and don’t know it.
- An estimated 20,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV/AIDS, but do not know they are infected and 1,000 New Yorkers each year first learn they have HIV when they are already sick with AIDS.
- Depression affects nearly 1 in 7 New Yorkers.
- Colon cancer, the most preventable form of cancer, kills 1,500 NYC residents annually.
- Breast cancer kills about 1,260 in NYC every year and nearly one fourth of women over 40 had not had a recent mammogram.
- Together, influenza and pneumonia were the third leading cause of death among people of all ages in 2005 and accounted for more than 1,000 deaths in those 65 years and older.
- Less than 60 % of adults 65 years and older reported having received a flu shot in the 2005–2006 flu season.
- In 2005-2006, only 41% of adults with asthma reported getting a flu shot.
Flu shots are available at all HHC facilities at no cost for children 18 and under, and at low or no cost for adults. Unlike most vaccines, the flu shot must be given annually because influenza viruses change each year. The best time to get vaccinated is in October or November, but anyone can still get vaccinated in the winter months since influenza viruses usually reach peak levels during late December through March. An annual flu shot is recommended for the following groups:
- Persons at high risk for influenza-related complications and severe disease, including:
- children aged 6-59 months;
- pregnant women;
- persons aged 50 years and older;
- persons of any age with certain chronic medical conditions; and
- Persons who live with or care for persons at high risk, including:
- household contacts who have frequent contact with persons at high risk and who can transmit influenza to those persons at high risk; and
- healthcare workers.
HHC’s Take Care New York campaign is supported by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department for the Aging, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and MetroPlus.
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC), the largest municipal hospital and health care system in the country, is a $5.4 billion public benefit corporation that serves 1.3 million New Yorkers and nearly 400,000 who are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 80 community based health centers. For more information about HHC, visit nyc.gov/hhc.