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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
December 30, 2009

Heather Howard
Commissioner

For Further Information Contact:
Office of Communications
609-984-7160


 
H1N1 Weekly Update -- Week of December 28, 2009


 

Surveillance:

Currently, there is widespread influenza-like activity in New Jersey, which signifies there is flu activity in virtually every county in the state.

New Jersey did not report any new deaths this week. However, the death that was reported in last week’s DHSS H1N1 update will appear in this week’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) activity update on January 1, 2010. Due to the move of the DHSS Communicable Disease Services to a new building, last week’s DHSS report to the CDC was delayed.

To date, a total of 21 H1N1 deaths have been reported since Sept. 1, 2009. There were 18 deaths reported to the CDC during last spring’s H1N1 outbreak.

Vaccine Availability:

As of Dec. 30, 2009, New Jersey has 892,700 doses of vaccine available for ordering by ship-to providers. Vaccine providers are encouraged to continue ordering H1N1 vaccine to meet the demands of their respective communities.

Also, a total of 2,401,600 doses of H1N1 vaccine have been shipped to New Jersey. Vaccine has been ordered by more than 1,400 ship-to providers.

Vaccine for General Public:

Because of a significant increase of vaccine availability in New Jersey, the Department has recommended that providers offer H1N1 vaccine to the general public. Many public health agencies have begun to hold or plan clinics for the general public.

HIN1 Vaccine Target Groups:

 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 receive the H1N1 vaccine as they are at higher risk to 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.

Finding a flu shot:

The following tools may be helpful for New Jerseyans seeking an H1N1 flu shot:

  • The DHSS website has two flu shot locators to help individuals find public health clinics that are being planned and will be announced when vaccine is available, as well as to find clinics with scheduled dates.
  • Contact your physician, community health center, local pharmacy, local or county health department, hospital or school. Many doctors, health clinics and schools are providing vaccine to their patients and students, while local health departments, pharmacies and some hospitals are offering clinics to the public.
  • Call New Jersey’s H1N1 Information Hotline - 1-866-321-9571

Antiviral Medications:

The Department has entered into an agreement with all Walgreen stores and other retail pharmacies in the state to make available antiviral medications that will specifically be offered to uninsured and underinsured residents. The Department also has distributed antiviral medications to New Jersey’s Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC).

Walgreens and other pharmacies will provide these medications with a valid prescription. Medications received from pharmacies will cost a small administration fee. Medications received from FQHCs will be free to the FQHCs uninsured patients.
 
State Public Call Center:

A state H1N1 information call center was activated on October 6. To date, the call center has received more than 30,000 calls from the general public, healthcare providers, and others. The overwhelming majority of the calls are regarding flu vaccine and vaccine clinic questions from the general public. The call center is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Call Center will close at 1 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and will be closed all day on January 1 - 3.  It will reopen at 9 a.m. on January 4. The toll free number is 866-321-9571.

Hospital Visiting Restrictions:

Many New Jersey hospitals have restricted their visitation policy to help reduce the spread of illness. The restrictions do no allow individuals with influenza-like symptoms or those who are under 18 years of age.

The Department of Health and Senior Services supports this effort to reduce the spread of H1N1 influenza as well as other infectious diseases.
 
Communications:

The Department’s H1N1 website (www.nj.gov/health/h1n1) is the source for up-to-date information on H1N1 influenza. The website also contains videos, public service announcements, press releases, posters and flyers. The website is updated frequently, so please visit daily for new information and links.

Watch for the Department’s new public service announcements with Deputy Commissioner Dr. Susan Walsh, which encourage individuals to stay informed and stay healthy. These radio and television announcements are on the DHSS website.

In addition, individuals can receive updated H1N1 information by following the DHSS on Twitter at http://twitter.com/FluNJ.
 
Stop the Spread:

There are certain prevention actions everyone can take to help slow the spread of H1N1 this fall and winter. These actions include common-sense measures to limit the spread of germs, including:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it and then wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue, use your sleeve.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Get an H1N1 and seasonal vaccine.

Questions and Answers:

Where can I get a 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccination?

New Jersey has thousands of locations offering 2009 H1N1 vaccinations:  health care providers’ offices, community health centers, county and local health departments, and retail pharmacies.

H1N1 flu vaccine is being distributed to New Jersey (and across the country) in staggered shipments for several more months.  Both the nasal mist and the injectable form of the vaccine will be available and there is expected to be enough vaccine for everyone who wants to get vaccinated.

 

Providers will share specific information with their patients and some local health departments will be scheduling vaccination clinics.  Check your local papers for public clinics being held for specific target groups. You can also check the NJDHSS website (http://nj.gov/health) for public health locations in your area that will be vaccinating.  This website is updated on an on-going basis. 

 

Will I be able to get a vaccination at my local pharmacy?                                      

Check with your local pharmacy to see if the vaccine is available or search using the “Flu Vaccine Locator” after you click on “Find a Flu Shot” on http://nj.gov/health.

 

 
 
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