Give Yourself a Gift

COVID, flu, and respiratory viruses are on the rise this holiday season; gift yourself and family members with health and protection

Hospitals and counties urge flu and COVID vaccination

COVID-19 is by no means behind us. It’s just added to the mix of seasonal viruses that appear every year when cold weather sets in and we find ourselves gathering indoors. This is one reason why flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are more prevalent this year, even as COVID infection rates remain steady on both Long Island and in the Hudson Valley.

Now’s the Time

Vaccination is a gift you can give yourself and your family members right now during this holiday season. Both flu and COVID-19 vaccines prevent infection and lessen severity of illness if you happen to catch either one of these seasonal bugs. That’s why the Suburban Hospital Alliance and its member hospitals are urging anyone eligible to get vaccinated now. The association launched a campaign in November with the theme Now’s the Time and is encouraging COVID-19 vaccination among the youngest members of our population sooner rather than later.

Protect Your Kids – Gift them with Vaccination

Children who are in school and congregate settings are especially vulnerable to catching germs. The COVID-19 vaccination rate for children six months and above is lagging substantially.  In New York, only 3.3 percent of children younger than two years of age and 5.5 percent of children two to four years of age received the complete COVID-19 vaccine series. The rate is a bit better in the five to 11-year-old age group at 40 percent. However, booster coverage is even worse – only 2.2 percent for children five to 11 years of age and 4.8 percent for 12 to 17 year olds.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a great interactive map by state that displays COVID vaccination coverage.

Get Ahead of the Flu Bug

The gift of vaccination also works for the flu. Anyone six months and older who is eligible to receive the flu vaccine should do so now. Unfortunately, flu cases are rising across the state. The situation is under control, however, and hospitals and public health experts want to keep it that way. That’s why vaccination is so crucial, and it also prevents our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.

Hospitals and local county health departments always encourage flu vaccination and even more so this year. Last year, less people caught the flu because masking and social distancing were still commonplace. This year it’s a different story and a different flu season.

The flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine can be administered together. Both are safe and effective, offer protection, and will keep you and your family healthy this holiday season.

Vaccination Resources

Flu and COVID Vaccine Finder

NYS Department of Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

County Health Department Directory


About the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State

The Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State advocates on behalf of hospitals in the Hudson Valley and Long Island regions. It engages key lawmakers and regulatory decision-makers in Albany and Washington to ensure reasonable and rational healthcare policy prevails.

About the Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council (NSHC)   

The Nassau-Suffolk Hospital Council represents the not-for-profit and public hospitals on Long Island. It works in conjunction with the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State to advance legislative and regulatory priorities.  NSHC serves as the local and collective voice of hospitals on Long Island.

About the Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association (NorMet)  

The Northern Metropolitan Hospital Association represents the not-for-profit and public hospitals in the Hudson Valley region. It works in conjunction with the Suburban Hospital Alliance of New York State to advance legislative and regulatory priorities.  NorMet serves as the local and collective voice of hospitals in the Hudson Valley.

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