A report by the city’s Health Department found that nearly one-third of children under the age of 5 years did not receive a flu shot during the past year.
The agency said that influenza and pneumonia, which is the third leading cause of death in the five boroughs and is responsible for as many as 3,000 deaths each year.
A study by the department found that 65 percent of city children, ages 6 to 59 months, received a flu shot during the past year. This number was up slightly from 59 percent during the previous year, but below the national rate of 80 percent.
“More New Yorkers die from influenza and pneumonia than from any other infection,” Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said. “The best way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated. If you think it is too late, think again. We are just now heading into peak flu season.”
A majority of infections this year have been caused by the H1N1 strain that has been circulating since 2009. All influenza vaccines protect against the H1N1 virus.
Farley said annual flu shots are recommended for persons above the age of 6 months. Those most at risk include children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions and adults over the age of 65 years.