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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
|Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. |
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The DHSS has been working closely with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aventis and distributors of Chiron vaccine to make vaccine available to local health departments and other health care facilities in the state.
The DHSS is now surveying these facilities to determine their current vaccine needs and the amount each will be allowed to order. About two-thirds of the supply will be shipped in weekly allotments through the end of the year, and the remainder after January 1.
The 342,000 doses described above are in addition to the 134,000 already received by local health departments. Early in the season, Aventis shipped about 49,000 doses to local health departments that had ordered directly from Aventis. Another 85,000 were made available later to agencies that had ordered Chiron-produced vaccine, either directly or off the state contract.
The DHSS also announced last week that it has purchased 8,000 doses of injectable, inactivated flu vaccine. Last week, FQHCs received 4,000 of these doses for patients and staff, and the Department of Human Services received 1,600 doses for residents of the state’s facilities for the developmentally disabled. This week, hospitals will receive 2,400 doses for employees working in areas where high-risk patients are treated.
DHSS also plans to purchase another 2,000 doses for use in the event of an emergency or large outbreak in an institution.
DHSS also announced last week it will purchase up to 7,400 doses of FluMist, the live attenuated, nasally administered vaccine approved for use by healthy people ages 5 to 49. The department will make it available to nursing homes and assisted living residences for use in healthy, non-pregnant staff members. The department already surveyed nursing homes and is now surveying assisted living facilities to assess their interest in receiving Flu Mist.
Aventis has also shipped vaccine directly to private health care providers in the state, but that total number is not publicly available.
“People can protect themselves from flu and other respiratory viruses by avoiding people who are ill, staying home when sick, and practicing Universal Respiratory Precautions,” said Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, state epidemiologist and senior assistant commissioner. These practices include covering the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, using tissues to contain respiratory secretions and promptly disposing of them, and washing hands thoroughly and often.
“Seniors and people with chronic health problems should also talk to their doctor about receiving the pneumococcal vaccine, which protects from a type of pneumonia that can be contracted as a complication of influenza,” Dr. Bresnitz added.
The CDC has identified the following priority groups to be vaccinated this season:
The department has set up a toll-free telephone hotline to answer questions related to the vaccine shortage from the public and health care providers. So far, the hotline has received more than 21,000 calls.
Anyone with questions about influenza and this year’s vaccine supply can call the DHSS hotline at 1-866-234-0964 Monday through Friday from to For additional information on influenza, please visit the department’s web site at: http://nj.gov/health/flu.
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Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360