FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 07, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND MANHATTAN BOROUGH PRESIDENT C. VIRGINIA FIELDS ENCOURAGE HARLEM RESIDENTS AND OTHER NEW YORKERS AGE 65 AND OVER AND THOSE WHO ARE IN HIGH-RISK GROUPS TO GET A FLU SHOT
Health Department to Offer Flu Shots to up to 1,000 People at Harlem Hospital
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Executive Director of Harlem Hospital Dr. John Palmer and Department for the Aging (DFTA) Commissioner Edwin Méndez-Santiago today encouraged residents of Harlem and all New Yorkers who are age 65 and older, or who are have illnesses that put them at high risk for illness from flu, to get vaccinated. On Thursday, December 9, from 9:30 am - 3:00 pm, the Health Department and the Health and Hospitals Corporation will operate a free, large-scale clinic at Harlem Hospital (located at 135th Street and Lenox Avenue) that will be able to vaccinate as many as 1,000 people. In addition, starting next week, the Health Department will provide flu shots every Monday for the rest of December at the Health Department's Central Harlem Clinic located at 2238 Fifth Avenue at 137th Street.
"The City is getting more vaccine and we want to make sure every dose gets to those who need it," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Older adults and other at-risk people who have not yet had their shot are urged to come to the vaccination clinic at Harlem Hospital this coming Thursday. Harlem Hospital will provide inoculations all flu season and starting next week the Health Department clinic at 2238 Fifth Avenue will provide flu shots every Monday until the end of the year. I would like to thank Borough President Fields for joining us and being such a forceful advocate for more flu vaccine availability in Harlem and encouraging residents to protect themselves against the flu."
The Health Department provides flu shots at its other six walk-in clinics in all five boroughs. DOHMH operates clinics in Chelsea in Manhattan, Crown Heights and Homecrest in Brooklyn, Corona and Jamaica in Queens and St. George in Staten Island as well as at senior centers located throughout the City. DOHMH has also expanded operations at the Chelsea, Homecrest and Corona locations to accommodate the increased demand for flu shots. Each of these expanded clinics is able to vaccinate up to 1,000 people per day.
The Health Department has distributed more than 200,000 doses of flu vaccines to nursing homes, AIDS clinics, hospitals, health centers, assisted living centers, kidney dialysis centers, and group homes for people in high-risk groups. DOHMH is also urging doctors in neighborhoods with historically low flu vaccination rates to make sure their high-risk patients know where to get a flu shot this year. More vaccine has arrived in New York City and individuals should check with their doctor to see if they have flu vaccine available.
"There is a great need in our community for protection against an outbreak of the flu this winter," said Congressman Charles Rangel. "I commend the Mayor for responding with a program that should really make a difference."
"At this time of the year, it is critically important that people throughout the City have access to the flu vaccine," said Borough President Fields. "That's why I'm pleased that the Mayor, Commissioner Frieden and Harlem Hospital are working together to ensure that the residents of Harlem, most especially those who are age 65 and older, and others at high risk for illness from the flu can get vaccinated."
"People over 65 who are not vaccinated against the flu are twice as likely to die during flu season as those who are vaccinated," said Commissioner Frieden. "You can't get the flu from the flu shot, and getting one now will protect you and your loved ones. With enough flu vaccine for New Yorkers over 65 and for those with serious underlying medical conditions, I urge people who fall into this 'high risk' category to make sure they get a flu shot this season. Check with your doctor first as they may now have the vaccine. Clinics, such as the one we have set up in Harlem are also available at other locations throughout the City. The schedule is posted on the website and information is available from 311."
"I urge all our seniors 65 and older in upper Manhattan and all parts of the City to get a flu shot," said Commissioner Méndez-Santiago. "Seniors have many options when it comes to getting a flu shot - they can go to their local senior center if they have pre-registered, a local HHC hospital, DOHMH clinics, and their own doctor."
"Our patients in the communities we serve feel confident in the health services we provide and now we are opening the door to offer flu shots to all New Yorkers at high risk, regardless of whether or not they are HHC patients," said Dr. Benjamin Chu, President of HHC. "We know that we are saving many lives by making flu shots more readily available to those who are most vulnerable during this year's flu season."
City Health Department monitoring has not yet detected widespread flu activity. For information on where to get a flu shot, contact your medical provider. New Yorkers can also call 311 or log onto www.nyc.gov/health/flu to find Health Department flu clinic locations and hours of operation.
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
Sandra Mullin (DOHMH)
Charles Walker (BP Fields) (212) 669-2090
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