NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned his annual flu shot into a public service announcement, urging New Yorkers to protect themselves from influenza.
The mayor got his flu shot from pharmacist Barbara Naprawa at a Duane Reade pharmacy in lower Manhattan.
"Literally can't feel it," Bloomberg told reporters during the injection. He even refused a band-aid afterward, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.
WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reports
"Flu season is almost upon us and the best way to avoid getting the flu is to get a flu shot. It's also the best way to prevent the flu from spreading to someone else. So if you get a shot, you're not only protecting yourself you are protecting your family members and those you love," Bloomberg said.
New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley also received his influenza vaccine at the Duane Reade Thursday morning.
"Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine every year," said Farley in a news release. "But for more vulnerable people, like adults 50 and older, people with medical conditions, pregnant women and children under 5 it is especially important to ward off coming down with influenza by getting vaccinated. While maintaining good personal hygiene – washing your hands, covering your cough, and staying home when ill – helps diminish the spread of the virus, getting the flu vaccine is the best 'shot' we have going to prevent flu-related death and illness."
Farley also said those with a severe egg allergy or anyone who may have had an allergic reaction to a past flu shot should not get the vaccine.
The flu is the third leading cause of death in New York City, Farley said.
1010 WINS' Stan Brooks reports
Bloomberg said flu vaccines are readily available to all New Yorkers.
"Flu can be very dangerous, people die from flu and the vaccines generally help," Bloomberg said.
Health centers in the city offer discounted or free flu vaccines to New Yorkers, according to the health department.
New Yorkers 18 and over can get vaccinated at their local pharmacy and most pharmacies accept insurance, the city said.
In addition, New York's BigAppleRx discount prescription drug card offers a discount on a flu vaccine and the health department's immunization clinics and the Health and Hospitals Corporation offer free or low-cost vaccination at all of its hospitals and community health centers, according to the city.
Anyone can find a nearby vaccine outlet by calling 311 or searching for a flu clinic at the city's website, NYC.gov.
Flu symptoms include high fever, dry cough, fatigue and all-over body ache, according to health officials.
The flu is blamed for an average of 23,600 deaths per year across the U.S. with an additional 200,000 hospitalized because of the illness, according to health department figures.
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