With flu season at or near its peak, Westchester County Executive George Latimer announced that the County Health Department will offer residents more free flu vaccines in February.

Latimer said: “Flu is widespread this season, and the virus can be miserable. I encourage anyone who did not have a flu vaccine this fall to sign up for one today, to protect you and those around you well into 2020.”

Call 995-5800 to schedule a flu vaccine at a County Clinic for residents age 3 and up, as follows:

  • Tuesdays, Feb. 11, 18 and 25, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 134 Court St., White Plains
  • Fridays, Feb. 7 and 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 134 Court St., White Plains
  • Friday, Feb. 14 and 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 20 S. Broadway, Yonkers.

Westchester flu clinics are open to all, especially those without insurance or whose insurance doesn’t cover vaccines. The County Health Department has focused its public vaccination efforts on people who lack the means to get vaccinated elsewhere by bringing flu shots to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries throughout Westchester.

Health Commissioner Sherlita Amler, MD, said: “Everyone six months and older should get a flu shot each year. Flu can be deadly, and the flu vaccine is very safe and the best protection we have. By getting an annual flu shot, you help protect infants too young to be vaccinated, seniors and people with chronic health conditions, who are more vulnerable to flu complications.”

The New York State Department of Health has reported a surge in the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases and hospitalizations reported statewide. In the week ending January 25, 15,012 lab-confirmed cases of flu and 2,015 flu-related hospitalizations were reported statewide.

Flu activity usually peaks 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.

Dr. 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.