NEW YORK (WPIX)—Governor David Paterson declared a disaster health plan Thursday because of the rise in swine flu cases.
The executive order means that far more health care professionals - including dentists - will be permitted to administer vaccines with only brief training. The order is needed to suspend provisions of state law.
State officials say the number of vaccine doses is also being increased. The federal government is ramping up availability of the vaccine, allowing the state to order twice as many doses as a week ago, a trend that's expected to continue.
According to the executive order, at least 75 deaths in the state have been attributed to the swine flu.
The declaration was made just a day after New York City announced a plan to vaccinate thousands of elementary school children.
Officials said nurses at 125 public elementary schools - each with a population of less than 400 students - have administering a nasal spray vaccine to students since Wednesday. About 15 to 25 children will receive the vaccination each day until the supply is gone.
City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said there are 40,000 doses are set aside for the first groups of schools.