TRENTON – With flu season underway, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is reminding residents to get their annual flu vaccine in recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week, December 5-9.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone ages six months and older.
“Getting your yearly flu vaccine, along with your COVID-19 updated booster, can help you and those around you stay healthy this holiday season,” said Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli. “The flu vaccine is safe, effective, and can be given alongside other routine immunizations, including the COVID-19 vaccine and booster."
Flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. Despite these benefits, during the 2021-2022 flu season, only 57% of adults (ages 18 years and older) and 67.7% of children (ages six months through 17 years old) in New Jersey received a flu vaccine.
Certain people, such as adults ages 65 and older, pregnant individuals, and adults with certain chronic health conditions like asthma and heart disease, are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. Flu vaccination should also be a priority for those persons who live with or care for persons 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. Flu vaccination is required in certain healthcare settings under state law.
Flu vaccination is available at healthcare provider offices, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, and local health departments. Many vaccines are covered by insurers at little to no cost to individuals. In addition, NJDOH’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program (VPDP) helps to reduce economic barriers to childhood vaccines through the Vaccines for Children program, which offers vaccines at no cost to eligible children through healthcare providers enrolled in the program. The VPDP also participates in the 317-funded adult program, which provides vaccines to uninsured and underinsured adults
The Department supports the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey’s statewide influenza campaign, Power to Protect NJ, and two initiatives to promote flu prevention: NJ Influenza Honor Roll and the NJ College and University Flu Challenge.
The New Jersey Influenza Honor Roll (NJ IHR) is an initiative that serves to recognize institutions that encourage and promote flu prevention within their communities. There are four categories of eligible institutions: educational facilities, community-based organizations, businesses, and healthcare facilities. Activities for consideration may include flu clinics, flu prevention campaigns, and partnerships with local organizations to promote flu vaccination. Applications for the 2022-23 flu season will be accepted through March 31, 2023. For more information, visit nj.gov/health/cd/edu_training/vpdp_flu_honor_roll.shtml.
The New Jersey College and University Flu Challenge is an initiative that teams up New Jersey Department of Health with colleges and universities in the state to improve flu vaccination rates among college students. The challenge encourages friendly competition between institutions to determine which campus can achieve the highest flu vaccination rates. Each participating institution develops and implements a unique influenza campaign to fit the needs of its student body. Flu vaccination coverage is measured by a brief student self-reported survey. Applications will be accepted through December 31, 2022. For more information, visit nj.gov/health/cd/edu_training/vpdp_flu_challenge.shtml.
COVID-19 vaccination locations can be found using the NJ Vaccine Appointment Finder or by calling the statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center (855-568-0545). The COVID-19 vaccine is available for free, regardless of insurance status, and is also encouraged to help protect against severe illness.
For general flu information, visit nj.gov/health/fighttheflunj. For more information about National Influenza Vaccination Week, visit the CDC webpage at cdc.gov/flu/nivw/index.htm.
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