Fears about Ebola are driving New Yorkers to take care of themselves.
The Health Department reports that about 150,000 city residents have gotten flu shots so far this year, compared to about 100,000 this time last year.
While the vaccine is more readily available this year, Health Department officials believe the real reason for the spike is because people are trying to combat Ebola.
The two diseases are completely unrelated, but authorities have urged New Yorkers to get the flu shot so that fewer sick people clog up hospital emergency rooms.
“Leaving emergency departments to take care of serious illnesses, or if there is another [Ebola] patient in New York, will be beneficial,” Health Department flu chief Dr. Jane Zucker told WNYC.
Flu season has not peaked yet, so doctors don’t yet know if the vaccine will be able to fully fight this year’s strain of flu.
But since only 46 percent of Americans (and 1/3 of American adults) got their flu shots last year, any increase in flu prevention is a good thing.