www.co.hunterdon.nj.us | Department of Health | 2009 Public Information & Notices
Updated 08/17/2009

HUNTERDON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
PO Box 2900
Flemington, New Jersey 08822
908-788-1351
For more information contact Carl Rachel, Public Relations Director

GET EARLY FLU SHOT THIS YEAR

This upcoming flu season is unlike others in years past. Indeed, this year’s seasonal influenza and the Novel H1N1 influenza likely will co-circulate in our community. To lower your personal and family risks, the county health department is encouraging people to get their flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available.

 “This week, we recommended to private physician practices throughout the county to begin administering seasonal flu shots as early as possible, especially for those at higher risk,” said John Beckley, health officer and director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health. The higher risk group includes children ages 6 months to 18 years of age; persons 50 years of age and older; pregnant women; individuals with chronic medical conditions; people living in a nursing home or long-term care facility; and those caring for or living with someone who is at high risk for complications from flu.

According to Beckley the vaccine for seasonal flu shots is expected to arrive later this month at physician offices that order it.

“People should contact their personal physician to schedule flu shots for themselves and their family members. Seasonal flu shots given in August and early September will provide protection lasting throughout the flu season,” advised Beckley.

The protection that an annual flu shot can offer is particularly important this year because seasonal flu will circulate along with the Novel H1N1 virus that is sustaining a worldwide pandemic. However, the virus strain of each influenza is different. That means a seasonal flu shot is not expected to protect against Novel H1N1 flu. Likewise, a shot for Novel H1N1 flu will not protect against the seasonal flu. Thus, to get ample protection this year may mean getting up to three injections: one shot for seasonal flu, plus perhaps two injections one month apart for Novel H1N1 flu. The vaccine for the Novel H1N1 influenza is expected to be available in mid-October, possibly earlier.

“We have a significant public health challenge this year,” said Beckley. “In just the regular influenza season, there are more than 36,000 deaths nationwide. Add to that the complicating factors of a worldwide pandemic of an entirely different flu strain and it isn’t hard for most people to grasp the potential impact these simultaneous, contagious diseases can have. The health department is leading efforts to finalize details for the county to sponsor four seasonal flu clinics this year, beginning in mid-September. Specific dates and times will be announced soon.”

For more information about Novel H1N1, see the county health department website at www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm.

 

 

___________________________________________________________________________________________
www.co.hunterdon.nj.us
| Department of Health | 2009 Public Information & Notices