NEW YORK (AP) - New York's governor has declared a public health emergency for the state because of the severity of the flu season.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made the announcement Saturday. His executive order suspends for the next month the state law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents only to individuals 18 years of age or older.
Pharmacists will also be allowed to administer flu vaccinations to patients between 6 months and 18 years of age.
The order comes as nearly 20,000 cases of influenza have been reported in the state this season. That's more than four times the 4,400 positive laboratory tests reported all of last season.
The annual flu season hit about a month early and illness is now widespread in 47 states.