As Long Island flu cases spike, CDC director encourages getting vaccinated

If you haven't gotten vaccinated yet, now's the time before you gather with family and friends for the holiday season.

That's the advice coming straight from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Mandy Cohen.

"Make sure to get that updated flu, COVID and if you’re over 60, that RSV shot," she said.

This is the first year an RSV vaccine is available for older adults, pregnant women, and infants.

RELATED: Government offering more free COVID-19 tests for home delivery through the mail

Dr. Cohen, a Nassau County native, says over the past three months there have been 1,000 COVID deaths in New York and only 14% of Americans got the new vaccine.

"COVID and flu have changed," Cohen said. "You want the most updated protection you can get. I’m the CDC Director, but I’m also a mom and wife. We want everyone to be safe."

But in order to be safe, it’s important to be smart. Dr. Cohen suggests washing your hands and staying home if you’re sick.


Flu cases on the rise in NY, soaring in other states

U.S. health officials say at least seven states are seeing high levels of the flu and that cases are rising in other parts of the country.

"I know it’s hard to miss family gatherings but don’t spread viruses around and if you’re sick test yourself because we have treatment for flu and COVID and treatment can save your life," she said.

According to health department data, the number of flu cases across Long Island is on the rise. Doctors say the shot this year is an excellent match. It’s estimated to reduce your chance of getting the flu by about 60 to 65%, and it’s not too late to get yours if you haven’t yet already.

"H1N1 is what we’re seeing now," said pediatrician Dr. John Zaso. "Over the last few weeks, it’s picking up some steam."

You can visit to place an order for more COVID-19 tests. The FDA is extending the expiration date of a number of different brands.