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News Release

   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
  January 31, 2002


Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Laura Otterbourg or Dennis McGowan

It's Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot


TRENTON - At the midway mark in the current flu season, Acting Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. of the Department of Health and Senior Services is reminding all state residents, particularly seniors and people with certain chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, HIV, and kidney disease, that it is not too late to get a flu shot.

"While flu season in the Northeast runs from November through April, we are just now entering the peak months," said Dr. Lacy, who noted that a flu shot taken today will reach full effectiveness within two weeks.

"Just because it is flu season doesn't mean you have to catch the flu," said Dr. Lacy. "A flu shot is a safe, effective and low-cost way to stay healthier this winter."

To date, flu activity in New Jersey has been sporadic, with schools, nursing homes and hospital emergency departments reporting illness rates that mirror activity at this time last year. In 2001, the peak period of flu-like illness activity occurred between the last week in January and the first week in March. Weekly flu activity updates are posted on the Department of Health and Senior Services' website at

"Influenza is a serious public health threat that annually claims the lives of approximately 20,000 Americans," said Dr. Lacy. "In most cases, the flu is a preventable illness so state residents, particularly seniors and people with chronic conditions that place them at high risk, should take steps now to protect themselves."

Dr. Lacy noted that vaccine manufacturers produced more total doses of flu vaccine for use this season than in recent years and vaccine availability should not be a problem. He urged individuals to call their doctors now and make an appointment to get a flu shot.

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Department of Health and Senior Services
P. O. Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

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