News Release
   
   PO 360
   Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

   For Release:
   January 17, 2001

Christine Grant
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Christine Gage
609-984-7160

 
It's Not Too Late to Get a Flu Shot

TRENTON -- Health and Senior Services Commissioner Christine Grant is recommending that state residents who may have had difficulty getting a flu shot earlier this season try again now that vaccine is readily available.

"Thanks to a special contract between the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a vaccine manufacture, there are currently several million doses of flu vaccine available and ready for distribution," said Grant. "Doctors should place their orders immediately and New Jerseyans should call their doctors now to make an appointment to get immunized."

Flu vaccines are traditionally given in the fall and early winter, but manufacturing problems this season resulted in partial or late vaccine shipments. As a result, many adult immunization clinics were cancelled and private medical practices had difficulty obtaining vaccine for their patients.

Doctors, local health departments and other health care providers can now obtain vaccine quickly from the CDC through a special application process by calling 1-800-720-8972, or via the Internet at www.vaccineshoppe.com. General and New Jersey-specific flu information, including a weekly update of flu and flu-like illness activity in the state, is available on the department's website at www.state.nj.us/health.

"It's not too late to get a flu shot. While flu season runs from November through April, we are just entering the peak months," said Grant, who noted that a flu shot taken today will reach full effectiveness within two week. "Flu season is here, but that doesn't mean you have to catch the flu. A flu shot is a safe, effective and low-cost way to stay healthy this winter."

Grant specifically recommends that seniors and persons with diabetes and other chronic health conditions that place them at greater risk for more severe illness get a flu shot as soon as possible, before influenza activity increases in the state.

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