NEW YORK, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- The New York City Health Department began a new ad campaign reminding city dwellers influenza germs are everywhere and vaccination is the best defense.
Health Department officials said four new ads will run in subway cars through February -- reminding people that getting vaccinated before influenza transmission peaks is the best way to prevent infection before peak influenza season hits in January.
Influenza season in New York City typically starts in the winter months, peaking in January through March.
"Getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best protection against this highly contagious infection," Dr. Thomas Farley, New York City health commissioner, said in a statement. "It's especially important for children to get vaccinated, because it protects their health and reduces the overall spread of the virus. The influenza vaccine is available at many locations across the city, making it easier than ever to protect yourself and your loved ones this season."
To further encourage influenza vaccination in children, the Health Department and the Department of Education are implementing a school-based vaccination program for students at 15 public elementary schools throughout the five boroughs.
The vaccinations will take place during school hours from Dec. 9-20. Parents and guardians of students at participating schools can register their children for vaccination online through Nov. 29. The Health Department and DOE plan to expand this program to additional schools in the 2014-15 school year.
Vaccinating children protects them and helps prevent them from spreading influenza to others at risk of severe illness and complications. At the end of the last influenza season, 65 percent of children age 6 through 59 months, 47 percent of children ages 5-8 and 31 percent of children ages 9-18 had received an influenza vaccine -- demonstrating the large number of children who were unprotected last year and the urgent need to increase pediatric vaccination coverage, Farley said.