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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
October 08, 2009

Heather Howard
Commissioner

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(609) 984-7160


 
Capital Health Among First US Hospitals to Receive H1N1 Flu Vaccine Vaccines to be Provided to Area First Responders, Healthcare Employees at Capital Health


 

TRENTON, NJ (October 8, 2009)— New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard  and Capital Health CEO & President Al Maghazehe detailed today at a press conference plans for how the hospital will distribute its supply of the H1N1 flu vaccine. Capital Health is among the first hospitals in the country and only a handful of medical centers in New Jersey to have received the H1N1 vaccine. 

The health system plans to offer the initial supply of vaccines to all emergency medical services (EMS) workers in Mercer County as well as employees at both of its hospitals.

“Hospitals such as Capital Health have been proactive in their prevention of seasonal and H1N1 flu and their continual efforts to educate residents throughout New Jersey are essential in reducing its spread,” said New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard.

“Healthcare workers and emergency responders with direct patient contact are in a unique position to protect not only themselves but also the patients they treat,” Howard said. “We are at the beginning our state’s vaccination program and this effort will continue through the fall and winter.”

 “Healthcare and EMS personnel are on the front lines of health care and have potential exposure to the H1N1 flu,said Al Maghazehe, CEO and president of Capital Health. “If large numbers of healthcare workers and EMS personnel were forced to stay home due to infection, hospitals would not have the ability to handle the increased number of patients visiting us if an outbreak were to occur.”     

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has assured states that although initial shipments are limited, that ultimately there will be enough vaccine for everyone who wants it. Capital Health’s administration of the vaccine is based on recommendations made by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is made up of medical and public health experts from across the country.  In addition to vaccinating its own hospital staff, Capital Health decided to offer the vaccines to the county’s EMS personnel. 

 “This new vaccine is targeted specifically for the H1N1 flu virus and has been found to be effective,” said Dr. Marc Whitman, president of the medical staff at Capital Health and a board certified infectious disease physician. “Once H1N1 vaccine is more widely available in the state, I encourage everyone to visit the state and CDC websites for recommendations and to check with their local health care providers about availability of vaccine.’’

According to the CDC, the H1N1 nasal mist vaccine is only recommended for healthy people between the ages of 2 and 49 who are not pregnant. Due to the limited initial supply, the Department of Health and Senior Services is targeting the nasal mist for healthy healthcare workers and children between the ages of 2 and 18.

The N.J. Department of Health and Senior Services has opened a toll-free public information hotline from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The information line number is 1-866-321-9571.  Call center operators will be able to provide general information about H1N1, vaccine safety and availability information, symptoms of H1N1 and flu preventive measures. 

For additional information about H1N1 Influenza, please visit: http://nj.gov/health

Capital Health is comprised of its Mercer and Fuld hospitals in Trenton, N.J. and the Capital Health in Hamilton outpatient facility. The health system also has construction underway for a new hospital in Hopewell Township, N.J. and an expansion of services at its Fuld hospital in Trenton, both scheduled to be completed by 2011. Capital Health has is also home to the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center of NJ, the region's trauma center and state designated regional perinatal center. Capital Health also operates a mobile intensive care unit and psychiatric emergency screening center serving all of Mercer

To learn more visit www.capitalhealth.org.

 
 
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