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Governor Gets Flu Shot to Encourage Vaccinations in NJ

Seniors, Others at High Risk Urged to "Get the Flu Shot & the Pneu Shot"

 

TRENTON – To stress the importance of New Jerseyans getting immunized against the flu and pneumonia, Governor James E. McGreevey today received a flu vaccination from Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

 

"I cannot state strongly enough the importance of getting a flu shot, particularly for seniors, persons with diabetes and other chronic conditions," said McGreevey.  "I am getting this shot today to demonstrate the urgent need for New Jerseyans to visit their doctor or take advantage of one of the immunization clinics to get their shot."

 

The Department of Health and Senior Services, in conjunction with local health departments throughout the state, has made a listing of flu immunization clinic dates, times and locations available on its website at www.state.nj.us/health/flu, at PRONJ's Health Hotline at 1-866-269-4325 or by calling NJEASE at 1-877-222-3737.

 

Seniors, persons with diabetes and other high-risk state residents interested in getting an annual flu shot or a once-a-lifetime pneumococcal vaccination can visit the site from their home computer or a computer available to the public in most libraries. The website database is updated on a regular basis and is searchable by county and by town.

 

"Flu and pnuemococcal pneumonia are well recognized as health hazards for older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems, together claiming the lives of nearly 2,000 New Jersey residents each year," said Dr. Lacy.  "This website will assist state residents in identifying where to get these highly effective vaccinations."

 

Dr. Lacy said that, in addition to listing the times and locations of clinics, the site also details the various requirements and restrictions imposed by clinic sponsor agencies. Some, for instance, are limited to senior citizens and adults with disabilities, while others will vaccinate younger adults. The site also identifies which clinics offer the pneumococcal vaccine.

 

Influenza is a serious illness that causes symptoms including fever, aches and pains, sore throat, runny nose, and chills. When people over 65 or those with chronic health problems, such as diabetes, get the flu, they are more likely to develop complications which can lead to hospitalization and a loss of independence. Flu and pneumonia account for more 2,000 deaths of New Jersey residents each year.

 

In addition to the flu vaccine, which must be given each year to cover the strains that may be prevalent that year, a different and longer-lasting vaccine is available which offers protection against pneumococcal bacterial diseases and is also recommended for seniors and other high-risk groups. The “pneu” shot is generally given only once after age 65 and contains 85 to 90 percent of the pneumococcal serotypes that cause diseases such as bacteremia, meningitis and pneumonia.

 

Seniors are encouraged to seek these important vaccinations from their doctor as part of a well-person visit, or at one of the scheduled adult immunization clinics in their area.

 

The influenza and pneumococcal vaccines are both covered by Medicare and Medicaid, which reimburse health care providers directly for immunizing eligible seniors. In addition, New Jersey requires long-term care facilities and hospitals to offer influenza and pneumococcal vaccinations to senior citizen residents and patients, respectively.

 

 

 

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