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For Release:
January 11, 2010

Heather Howard
Commissioner

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(609) 984-7160


 
Health and Senior Services Deputy Commissioner Receives H1N1 Influenza Vaccine Highlights National Influenza Vaccination Week


 

Maplewood- In an effort to encourage as many people as possible to be vaccinated against H1N1 influenza, Department of Health and Senior Services Deputy Commissioner Dr. Susan Walsh received the vaccine today during a Maplewood Township flu clinic for township employees and public health workers.

 

“Since the spread of H1N1 influenza is likely to continue, it is critical to remind residents of the importance of flu vaccination at a time when demand for the vaccine usually drops,” Dr. Walsh said. “Vaccination is the best tool we have to prevent influenza.”

 

“Influenza is unpredictable and there is a possibility of a future wave of H1N1 flu,” Dr. Walsh said.  “Residents can protect themselves, their families and their community by getting vaccinated.” 

The Department’s goal is to encourage as many residents as possible to get vaccinated against H1N1 influenza.  To find the closest vaccination clinic and learn more about the H1N1 flu, Dr. Walsh encouraged people to visit www.nj.gov/health. The DHSS web site has two flu shot locators to help individuals find nearby flu clinics.

This week was designated National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination and to increase vaccination rates after the holiday season. 

Influenza can lead to serious complications, especially in young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions.

Nationally, 47 million people have been infected with H1N1, 200,000 people have been hospitalized and more than 9,800 people died between mid-April and November 14, 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In New Jersey there have been 40 confirmed H1N1 related deaths since last spring’s H1N1 outbreak.

Vaccinations are recommended for all individuals who want to decrease the risk of influenza. More than 2.5 million doses of H1N1 vaccine have been shipped to New Jersey. Due to increased availability of vaccine, the Department of Health and Senior Services expanded H1N1 vaccination availability beyond target groups to the general public on Dec. 16. 

Although New Jersey is now offering H1N1 vaccine to the general public, the Department continues to emphasize the importance of individuals in certain target groups receiving the H1N1 vaccine as they are at higher risk for complications of H1N1. These groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age
  • Healthcare and emergency medical services personnel
  • All people from 6 months through 24 years of age
  • Persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.

As part of this national observance, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established a web site, www.flu.gov/getvaccinated, which lists events that will highlight National Influenza Vaccination Week.

 

For the latest information on H1N1 influenza in New Jersey please visit the DHSS web site at www.nj.gov/health. Individuals who have Facebook accounts can become a fan of the DHSS’ H1N1 Resource page by searching the title on Facebook. Additionally, the Department created a Twitter page, which is available at www.twitter.com/NJFlu.

 

The Department also has an H1N1 Information Hotline at 1-866-321-9571. Live operators are available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week to answer questions regarding H1N1 influenza in New Jersey. The Department has received more than 31,000 calls since opening the hotline on Oct. 8, 2009.

 

To view Governor Jon S. Corzine’s proclamation declaring Jan. 10-16 as National Influenza Vaccination Week in New Jersey please visit: http://www.state.nj.us/health/flu/documents/nivw_pro.pdf

 

 

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