Who Needs A Flu Vaccine?

Influenza, commonly referred to as the 'flu', is a severe respiratory illness that is easily spread and can lead to severe complications, even death. Each year in the U.S. on average, influenza and its related complications result in approximately 226,000 hospitalizations and over 23,600 deaths. Combined with pneumonia, influenza is the nation's eighth leading cause of death. You can help avoid getting and spreading influenza by getting vaccinated each year.

Learn about Who Needs A Flu Vaccine.


Get Vaccinated! Don't Get Flu. Don't Spread Flu. Visit www.cdc.gov/flu

2014 – 2015 Influenza Seasonal Vaccine Supply Determination as Required by Public Health Law 2112

October 1, 2014


Health Care Providers, Hospitals, and Local Health Departments


New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Immunization

Health Advisory: 2014 – 2015 Influenza Seasonal Vaccine Supply Determination as Required by Public Health Law 2112

Please distribute to the Infection Control Department, Emergency Department, Employee Health Service, Infectious Disease Department, Director of Nursing, Medical Director, Pharmacy Department, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and all primary care providers.

New York State Public Health Law (PHL) §2112 prohibits the administration of vaccines containing more than trace amounts of thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative, to children less than 3 years of age and women who know they are pregnant, with certain exceptions. This law requires that the Commissioner of Health make a yearly determination of the adequacy of the supply of influenza vaccine that contains not more than 1.25 micrograms of mercury per 0.50 milliliter dose for women who know they are pregnant and not more than 0.625 micrograms of mercury per 0.25 milliliter dose for children less than 3 years of age.

The Commissioner of Health has determined that, as of September 30, 2014, it appears that there will be an adequate supply of thimerosal-free seasonal influenza vaccine for vaccination of pregnant women and children under the age of three years. Therefore, health care providers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, nurse midwives) providing influenza vaccinations to pregnant women and children under 3 years of age should purchase sufficient supplies of seasonal influenza vaccine to ensure vaccination compliance with PHL § 2112. In the event of late failure of vaccine production, the Commissioner may modify this determination.

Health care providers vaccinating pregnant women and children less than 3 years of age are expected to seek out vaccine that complies with PHL § 2112. The NYSDOH, however, recognizes that in prior years, although the supply of thimerosal-free vaccine appeared adequate, certain New York State health care providers were unable to order such vaccine. In those instances when health care providers have in good faith sought out influenza vaccine that complies with PHL § 2112, but such vaccine cannot be obtained, vaccination of children less than 3 years of age and pregnant women is still recommended because the substantial risk of complications or death from influenza disease in these groups outweighs the unproven risk of vaccination with thimerosal-containing vaccine. Health care providers should document the attempts that were made to locate and obtain the vaccine. They should also be aware that a pregnant woman or parent/guardian of a child less than 3 three years of age must provide informed consent for the administration of vaccine that contains more than trace amounts of thimerosal as noted above.

Additional Information

For additional information, please go to the NYSDOH webpage as noted below: http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/public_health_law/section/2112/information_for_physicians/

Additional information regarding vaccine safety, including the use of thimerosal in vaccines, can be obtained at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases website at http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/iso/, and at the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/default.htm

For further information, please contact your local health department or your regional New York State Department of Health Bureau of Immunization representative at the following:

Western Regional Office

  • Buffalo/Rochester: 716–847–4501

Capital District Regional Office

  • Albany: 518-474–4578

Central New York Regional Office

  • Syracuse: 315-477-8164

Metropolitan Area Regional Office

  • New Rochelle: 914-654-7149
  • Central Islip: 631-851-3096
  • Monticello: 845–794–2045

For questions about ordering vaccine in New York State (outside of New York City), Vaccines for Children (VFC) providers can call 518-474-4578 or toll free at 800-KID-SHOT during business hours.

Providers and facilities in New York City should contact the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 347–396–2400. For questions about ordering vaccine in New York City, VFC providers can call 347–396–2405 during business hours.