ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ The New York Health Department is requiring staff at hospitals, nursing homes, hospices and home care agencies statewide to get flu shots or else wear masks when in close contact with patients in the upcoming flu season.

The rules adopted in July will apply when officials determine influenza is prevalent. Last year, that meant Nov. 24 to April 20 when department monitoring showed the flu was widespread. They apply to doctors, nurses, other employees, contractors, students and volunteers in close contact with patients.

The flu vaccine takes about two weeks to establish virus-resistant antibodies. It typically contains three common strains of flu virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says last year's vaccine was about 62 percent effective at preventing infections.