Flu season generally peaks in January and February but can last...

Flu season generally peaks in January and February but can last into the spring, officials say. Credit: Johnny Milano

With flu season moving toward its peak, Suffolk County announced Tuesday that it will offer free influenza immunizations for residents six months and older who are uninsured or whose health insurance does not cover flu shots.

“The health and wellness of our residents is of utmost importance,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone. “The flu has been on the rise and we want residents to know it is not too late to protect yourself and your loved ones from what can turn into a debilitating disease by getting immunized as soon as possible.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there have been 9.7 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths from flu this season across the country. Flu season generally peaks in January and February but can often last into the spring, officials said.

Influenza cases in New York State jumped 9% last week, bringing the total confirmed cases to 32,848 this season, according to the state Health Department. 

"We ask residents to obtain immunization against the flu to protect not only themselves but others who may be especially vulnerable to the flu, especially infants who are too young to be immunized, pregnant women, older residents and those with other health conditions that make them more vulnerable to flu,” said Dr. James Tomarken, Suffolk's health commissioner.

The Health Department will provide flu immunizations on:

* Thursday from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, 3500 Sunrise Hwy., Building 200; Suite 124 in Great River;

* Jan. 21 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Riverhead Library, 330 Court St. in Riverhead.

Flu shots are also available at local pharmacies, pediatricians, health care providers’ offices and at Suffolk County affiliated health centers.

Individuals who are having difficulty finding flu shots or community groups serving those who are in need of flu shots are advised to call the Suffolk Department of Health Services’ Bureau of Communicable Diseases at 631-854-0333.

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