Pharmacists will be able to administer flu vaccines to children ages 2 to 18 under an executive order signed Thursday by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
The order, effective immediately, suspends the section of state education law that limits the authority of pharmacists to administer immunizing agents to anyone under age 18.
Public health officials encouraged parents to call pharmacies to schedule a visit. However, they urged parents and guardians with very young children between the ages of 6 months and 24 months to see their primary care physicians for the vaccination.
"With flu cases reaching epidemic proportions in New York, we must do everything in our power to fight this virus and keep New Yorkers safe," Cuomo said in a statement.
The flu season started earlier this year than the past two seasons, saw a rapid rise in cases in recent weeks, and is causing more severe illness this year.