NJ Department of Health Prepares for National Immunization Week

"It’s not too late to vaccinate ", National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 1-7.

The New Jersey Department of Health is reminding residents to get their annual flu vaccine as part of National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW). While flu vaccination is recommended before the end of October, NIVW was established to remind people that getting vaccinated can be beneficial through the holiday season and beyond.

“As the holiday season is beginning, increased travel and close family gatherings can create a great opportunity for illnesses to spread,” Acting Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “Getting vaccinated now can help protect yourself and your loved ones.”

For millions of people every season, flu means a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and miserable days spent in bed. Millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu each year.

There is a vaccine that can help reduce the risk of flu and its potentially serious complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine to everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses.

Certain people at greater risk for serious complications if they get sick with the flu:

Children younger than 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old, People 65 years of age and older , pregnant women and women up to 2 weeks after the end of pregnancy .American Indian and Alaskan Natives people who have medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.

“Flu vaccine also has been shown to save children’s lives, prevent serious events associated with chronic lung disease, diabetes and heart disease, and prevent flu-related hospitalization among adults and older adults,” Persichilli said. “Getting vaccinated isn’t just about keeping you healthy; it’s also about helping to protect others around you who may be vulnerable to becoming very sick, such as infants, older adults, and pregnant women.”

Flu vaccines are safe, effective and offered in many locations including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, urgent care centers, and pharmacies. Click here for general flu information and to find a flu shot near you.

The Department has two ongoing initiatives to promote flu prevention. The New Jersey Influenza Honor Roll recognizes institutions that are striving to promote influenza prevention at their facilities. It is open to four categories of honorees: business, community-based partners, education, and healthcare facilities.

In addition, the Department is challenging students at 10 participating colleges and universities to engage in a friendly competition to improve flu vaccination coverage on their campuses through the New Jersey College & University Challenge.