PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 7, 2015

Cathleen D. Bennett
Acting Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
(609) 984-7160

New Jersey Department of Health Encourages Residents to Add the Flu Vaccine to Their Holiday Wish List

As part of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), December 6-12, 2015, the New Jersey Department of Health is reminding residents that it's not too late to get the seasonal flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone six months of age and older receive the yearly flu vaccine.

"With holiday celebrations fast approaching, residents should get vaccinated against the flu now before spending time with loved ones,” said Acting Health Commissioner Cathleen D. Bennett. "It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to provide protection against the flu.”

Certain people are at increased risk of developing severe complications if they get sick with the flu. These complications can include pneumonia, bronchitis, and the worsening of chronic health conditions. Those at high risk include:

· children younger than 5 years
· people 65 years of age and older
· pregnant women
· people with certain long-term medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions, kidney and liver disorders, HIV or AIDS, and cancer)

Flu vaccination should also be a priority for people who live with or care for persons who are vulnerable to developing flu-related complications. This includes healthcare personnel and household contacts of children younger than six months of age.

Some people should not get a flu shot, so it is important for those around them to get vaccinated to provide a circle of protection. Children younger than six months of age are too young to get vaccinated and anyone who has ever had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine also should not get a flu shot. There is also an egg-free vaccine available for those who are 18 years of age and older who have a severe allergic reaction to eggs.

"The flu vaccine is the best tool available to protect against this potentially serious disease," said Deputy Health Commissioner Dr. Arturo Brito. “Other actions to help prevent the flu include washing your hands, covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, avoiding close contact with sick people and staying home from work or school if you are sick."

Flu vaccines are safe and effective and are offered in many locations including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, urgent care centers, and pharmacies. New Jersey residents can visit the Flu Vaccine Finder at http://www.nj.gov/health/flu/findflushot.shtml to find flu clinics near them.

For more information about NIVW, please visit the CDC web page at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/index.htm. For general flu information and resources available in various languages, please visit the Department’s website at http://nj.gov/health/flu/generalinfo.shtml.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter at twitter.com/NJDeptofHealth and on Facebook at facebook.com/NJDeptofHealth.

Last Reviewed: 12/7/2015