Free flu and vaccination clinics

With flu season in full swing, the county Health Commissioner urges all residents to get flu shots and other needed vaccines.

The Westchester County Health Department is offering residents the opportunity this month to get free flu shots, along with vaccines to protect against six other diseases at its Yonkers and White Plains clinics. “Getting vaccinated is a great way to keep a new year’s resolution to live healthier,” said County Executive Robert P. Astorino.

The health department clinics will offer:

  • Free flu vaccines to residents ages 19 and up and
  • Free HPV and meningococcal vaccine for college students.

Residents who are uninsured or whose insurance doesn’t cover vaccines also may receive:

  • Zoster vaccines for ages 60 and up to protect against Shingles
  • Flu vaccine for children ages six months through 18 years
  • MMR for adults aged 19 and over

Call now for your appointment. Supplies are limited. Clinics will be held:

  • Feb. 13 and Feb. 27 at our Yonkers Clinic, 20 S. Broadway, 2nd fl. Call 231-2500.
  • Feb. 6 and Feb. 20 at our White Plains Clinic, 134 Court St. Call 995-5800.

“We have vaccines for children, students, adults and seniors – and these vaccines provide safe and effective protection for a number of diseases,” said Commissioner of Health Sherlita Amler, MD. To date, the Health Department has expanded access to adult vaccines by giving more than 2,000 vaccines at a variety of clinics countywide.

To prevent spreading the flu, cough or sneeze into your elbow and wash your hands often with soap and water frequently. If you do get a respiratory infection, stay home until 24 hours after your fever subsides to avoid spreading your germs. Clean surfaces you touch frequently, such as doorknobs, water faucets, refrigerator handles and telephones.  Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat healthy food.

Each year in the U.S., more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with flu complications. People most at risk for complications from the flu include pregnant women, adults age 50 and older, children under the age of five and their caregivers, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities and anyone who has certain underlying medical conditions.

While this year's flu vaccine has been reported to offer reduced protection against the predominant strain of flu currently circulating, it is still recommended that everyone six months of age and older get the flu shot because it will still prevent some infections and reduce severe disease. Additional prevention and treatment efforts this season are also recommended, including the appropriate use of influenza antiviral medications, like Tamiflu, for treatment. It is especially important that hospitalized patients and anyone at high risk for serious complications from the flu be treated as soon as possible with an influenza antiviral medication if flu is suspected, regardless of vaccination status and without waiting for confirmatory testing.

Help prevent the spread of the flu by following the Four "C"s.

  • Contact: Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to prevent them from getting sick. Equally important is avoiding contact with your eyes, nose and mouth since the virus spreads by entering the mucous membranes in these areas.
  • Contain: If you are sick, stay home from work, school and public areas.
  • Cover: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough to protect others from getting sick. Since you may be contagious even before you realize you are sick, it is important to make this habit routine.
  • Clean: Clean your hands in hot soapy water often. Hand washing is one of the most effective, yet overlooked ways of preventing the spread of illness.

Where else can I go to get a flu vaccine?
Adults looking for a flu shot should check with their primary provider or a local pharmacy chain.

Also, you can try one of the local neighborhood health centers listed below. Be sure to call ahead to find out if they have vaccine in stock.

Neighborhood Health Centers
Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center
107 West Fourth St.,
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
Phone: (914) 699-7200

Yonkers Community Health Center
30 South Broadway,
Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: (914) 968-4898

Greenburgh Neighborhood Health Center
295 Knollwood Rd.
Greenburgh, NY 10607
Phone: (914) 989-7600

Hudson River HealthCare
Peekskill Health Center
1037 Main St.
Peekskill, NY 10566
For an appointment call: (914) 734-8800

Yonkers - Park Care
2 Park Ave, Yonkers, NY 10703
For an appointment call: (914)964-7862

Yonkers - Valentine Lane
503 South Broadway
Yonkers, NY 10705
For an appointment call: (914)965-9771

Open Door Family Medical Centers
Mt. Kisco Open Door
30 West Main St.
Mt. Kisco, New York 10549
Phone: (914) 666-3272

Ossining Open Door
165 Main St.
Ossining, NY  10562
Phone: (914) 941-1263

Port Chester Open Door
5 Grace Church St.
Port Chester, NY  10573
Phone: (914) 937-8899

Sleepy Hollow Open Door
80 Beekman Ave.
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
Phone: (914) 631-4141

What do I need to know about the flu vaccine?
It’s recommended for everyone six months of age and older, according to vaccine the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

And flu shots are especially recommended for:

  • The Health Dept's flu podPregnant women
  • Children age five and under
  • People age 50 and older
  • People with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and long-term care facilities
  • Health care workers or others who care for those at high risk for flu complications

While the flu shot is a good idea for most people, you should always check with your health care provider first, especially if you have a severe allergy to chicken eggs, have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine or have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of getting a flu vaccine. Anyone with a moderate to severe illness with a fever should wait until they have recovered to get vaccinated.