Today’s news:

The winter months are upon us and the Veterans Administration-NY Harbor Healthcare System is taking the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s message – “Don’t Get the Flu. Don’t Spread the Flu. Get Vaccinated” – to heart, encouraging each and every veteran to get a free flu shot this year.

“Flu is more than a bad cold. It is a serious disease. Flu causes 36,000 people to die every year. It’s the sixth leading cause of death in the USA. The best way to prevent the flu is to receive a flu vaccination,” said Michael Simberkoff, MD, chief of staff, VA.

The flu vaccine is particularly “recommended for anyone over the age of 50, anyone with a chronic disease and anyone caring for someone with a chronic disease, and of course all healthcare workers,” said Lois R. Katz, MD, associate chief of staff. She added that the vaccine will also be given to veterans who are under the age of 50 and those who do not have a chronic disease. All they have to do is request the immunization when they have an appointment.

Veterans who are not enrolled must complete an application to enroll, which only takes a few minutes prior to receiving the flu shot. Those with Veteran ID Cards should bring them.

Flu shots are free and veterans may come without appointment to the walk-in clinics at the Brooklyn VA Medical Center, 800 Poly Place and the Manhattan VA, 23rd Street and 1st Avenue. Walk-in clinics are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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