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Cuomo declares public-health emergency in New York

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By Gannett News Service
Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013, 7:22 p.m.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a public-health emergency in New York on Saturday in response to the severe flu season.

Cuomo issued an executive order allowing pharmacists to provide flu shots for 6-months-olds to 18-year-olds. The order suspends state law that restricts pharmacists from administering the vaccinations to minors.

Two children in New York and 18 children nationwide have died.

“We are experiencing the worst flu season since at least 2009, and influenza activity in New York state is widespread, with cases reported in all 57 counties and all five boroughs of New York City,” Cuomo said.

To date, 19,128 cases of influenza have been reported in New York since Jan. 1. There were 4,404 positive laboratory tests for the flu last year.

Flu is widespread in 47 states, up from 41 the week before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday. The increase has spurred demand for the vaccine, which still can be effective even though the illness is widespread.

“We have some, but we don't know how long the supply is going to last,” said pharmacist Bob Giaquinto of Rye Beach Pharmacy in Westchester County north of New York City.

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