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For Release:
November 21, 2006

Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Thomas Slater

DHSS reminds individuals of the importance Of getting vaccinated against seasonal influenza --In Recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week—


The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reminds residents it is not too late to get a flu shot to protect themselves from influenza this winter. 


National Influenza Vaccination Week, which is from November 27 to December 3, emphasizes the importance of continuing seasonal flu vaccination through the months of November, December and beyond.


“Getting a flu shot is the single most effective way to prevent the flu every winter,” said New Jersey Health and Senior Services Commissioner Fred M. Jacobs, M.D., J.D. “While most people like to get flu shots in the month of November, it’s important to remember that getting vaccinated in December and even January will provide protection from the flu.”


According to the CDC, about 77 million vaccine doses have already been distributed nationwide and vaccine supply is expected to reach an all-time high. Flu vaccine manufacturers report they expected more than 110 million doses to be distributed during this flu season -- more than 25 million more than has been distributed in any past season.


Vaccinations are recommended for all individuals who want to decrease the risk of influenza. Many groups, including people aged 50 years and older, people with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes, and pregnant women are at a higher risk for complications from influenza. In addition, health care workers and caregivers of high risk individuals are also at increased risk and should get vaccinated.


The CDC has also recommended that children from 6 to 23 months be vaccinated because they are considered at risk for complications of the flu. This year, the CDC expanded that recommendation to also include children aged 24 to 59 months.


Annually, about 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States because of influenza, resulting in about 36,000 deaths.


Besides getting vaccinated, there are other ways people can reduce the risk of getting the flu.


“People should wash their hands frequently, stay home if they’re sick and avoid people if they are sick,” said Commissioner Jacobs. “Also, it’s important to use good hygiene habits such as covering your coughs and sneezes and disposing of tissues properly. These habits become even more important as we approach the holiday season when people tend to socialize more.”


National Influenza Vaccination Week is a collaboration of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC, and the National Influenza Vaccine Summit.


For more information on influenza, including where you can find a flu shot, visit



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