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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

With the flu season still gripping Queens, the city’s teaming up with Walgreens and Duane Reade pharmacies to provide free vaccines for uninsured and underinsured residents.

The city’s Health Department announced on Feb. 26 that 1,000 vouchers for free flu shots would be distributed at Walgreens or Duane Reade locations throughout the city. The effort is concentrated in areas with high rates of people who either lack health insurance, or who have not yet received a flu vaccine.

Some vouchers for free flu shots are available on a first-come, first-served basis at two Queens locations: the Duane Reade at 136-02 Roosevelt Ave. in Flushing and the Walgreens at 159-34 Jamaica Ave. in Jamaica. Vaccines are subject to availability; age, state and health restrictions may vary.

For weeks now, the city and country have seen a stark increases in flu cases, a number of which have proven fatal. While a flu vaccine does not guarantee that a person won’t come down with the illness, the shot can help mitigate the symptoms and complications from infection.

“Our surveillance has shown that influenza activity remains elevated throughout the city, and expanding access to this potentially life-saving vaccine is one more step we can take to ensure New Yorkers remain healthy,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said. “The flu shot remains the safest and most effective way to protect yourself and your neighbors from the influenza virus.”

Seniors, young children (ages 8 and under) and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions are considered the most susceptible to influenza. The Health Department noted that there were 106 influenza-related pediatric deaths in the U.S. between 2016 and 2017, six of which occurred in New York City.

To find other locations where you can get a flu shot, call 311 or text “flu” to 877877. You can also visit the Health Department’s website for more information about the vaccine and how you can protect yourself from infection.

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