Six weeks ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ignored a warning about a flu outbreak. Now our city is facing one of the worst flu seasons in years.
On December 3, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and registered nurse Patricia DiLillo warned that a major flu crisis was on the way – and called for the Mayor’s office to distribute tens of thousands of free flu vaccines in the areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Six weeks later, they’re still waiting for an answer.
“If this were a normal flu season, people in areas hit hard by Sandy would still be at serious risk. But with the worst outbreak we've seen in years, we have the makings of a major health crisis on our hands. We cannot hope that the elderly and infirm will seek out help before it’s too late. We need to bring flu shots to them, and do so immediately," said Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.
“With winter upon us, a flu epidemic is a very real and dangerous possibility if we do not act now,” DiLillo warned six weeks ago, at the press conference on December 3. DiLillo is the president of the New York State Nurses Association.
In a press conference on City Hall steps, de Blasio outlined a comprehensive plan to distribute vaccines – for free – in the areas hardest-hit by Hurricane Sandy.
In Staten Island, Coney Island, and the Rockaways, many primary care offices and pharmacies are still shut down because of the storm. Thousands of New Yorkers are still stuck in homes with mold and no heat.
The city is still missing 1,600 hospital beds that closed because of the storm, and many emergency rooms are slammed with patients.
“It is not too late for Mayor Bloomberg to act, but every minute he waits the crisis will get worse,” said DiLillo. “Nurses are ready, willing, and able to help deliver those flu shots.”
Nurses are available for interviews.
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is New York’s largest professional association and union for registered nurses. The association represents registered nurses, and some all-professional bargaining units, in New York and New Jersey. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.