PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:

Christopher Rinn
Acting Commissioner

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

New Jersey Department of Health Reminds Residents to Fight Flu with Vaccination

National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is Dec. 3-9

The New Jersey Department of Health is reminding residents to get an annual flu vaccine before flu activity begins increasing in the state. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February.

“Now that flu season has arrived, the best way to protect yourself, your family and your co-workers is to get a flu shot,” said Acting Health Commissioner Christopher R. Rinn. “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work and school as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.”

The Department currently has two new initiatives to help promote flu prevention. During NIVW, educational institutions, businesses, organizations, and community partners are encouraged to participate in the New Jersey Influenza Honor Roll. Institutions from these categories are invited to participate in flu prevention campaigns, flu vaccination clinics, and/or partnerships with local stakeholders to promote flu awareness and prevention. For more information and to apply, visit www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/vpdp/ihr_application.pdf.

In addition, students at eight participating colleges and universities are engaged in a friendly competition to improve flu vaccination coverage on their campuses through the Department’s first annual New Jersey College & University Flu Challenge.

“To increase vaccination coverage and to continue to protect the health of New Jersey residents, it requires collaboration among stakeholders within our communities,” said Assistant Commissioner and State Epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan. “Through these initiatives, our partners share the responsibility of ensuring that New Jerseyans are aware of the dangers of flu, the benefits of the flu shot, and have greater access to vaccination.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. Those at high risk include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after end of pregnancy
  • American Indians and Alaskan Natives
  • People who have medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes

Flu vaccination should also be a priority for those persons who live with or care for individuals at higher risk for influenza-related complications. This includes healthcare personnel and household contacts of children less than six months of age, since these children are too young to receive the flu vaccine.

For the 2017-2018 season, the CDC is recommending only injectable flu shots be used. The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used based on concerns about its effectiveness. 

As long as flu viruses are circulating, it’s not too late to get vaccinated, even in January or later. Flu vaccines are safe and effective and are offered in many locations including doctor’s offices, clinics, local health departments, urgent care centers and pharmacies. For general flu information and to find a flu shot near you, visit the Department’s website at http://nj.gov/health/cd/topics/flu.shtml

The Department collects information on flu-like illness weekly from a sampling of healthcare providers to assess flu activity in the state. Weekly surveillance reports can be found at: http://nj.gov/health/cd/statistics/flu-stats/.

For more information about NIVW, please visit the CDC web page at www.cdc.gov/flu/nivw/index.htm.

Follow the New Jersey Department of Health on Twitter @njdeptofhealth, Facebook /njdeptofhealth, Instagram @njdeptofhealth and Snapchat @njdoh.

Last Reviewed: 12/4/2017