HUNTERDON COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
TWO FLU CLINICS IN ONE DAY BY COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
Hunterdon County Public Health will conduct two flu clinics on October 9. These events are open to all residents age 2 and above. The northern clinic is from 10am-4pm at Voorhees High School in Lebanon Township. The south central clinic is from 1pm-7pm at J.P. Case Middle School in Raritan Township.
Pre-registration is required for either of the clinics. This eliminate long wait times and a faster clinic experience. To register,
see www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/health.htm. People who do not have internet access can register by phone at 908-237-7150 from 11am and 1pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“We’re offering these clinics as early as possible this year,” explained Rose Puelle, PhD, director of the Public Health Preparedness division. “Our theme is Community Immunity, so we’re striving to present the public with a convenient opportunity to get a flu vaccination at the beginning of flu season.
“We’re also staging these two clinics to overlap hours by design,” Puelle added. “These simultaneous events at different locations present a host of challenges for us in terms of allocating resources. With two clinics overlapping and miles apart, this simulates the very real likelihood of what we’ll face during a wide scale public health disaster. It’s an opportunity to serve our community while fine tuning our response capabilities.”
Seniors attending the October 9 clinic at either site are reminded to bring their Traditional Medicare Part B Card. If that is their only insurance provider, the flu vaccine will be billed directly to Medicare. No other insurances plans, including Medicare HMOs, will be accepted. For all others who attend either clinic, flu vaccine is $20.
Who should get a flu shot? The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends influenza vaccination for all persons aged 6 months and older. This represents an expansion of the previous recommendations for annual vaccination of all adults aged 19—49 years and is supported by evidence that annual influenza vaccination is a safe and effective preventive health action with potential benefit in all age groups.
Vaccinations are also recommended for persons living with or caring for someone who is at high risk for influenza-related complications. These include healthy household contacts, including children, and caregivers of children aged less than 5 years, and adults aged 50 and above. Also included are healthy household contacts, including children, and caregivers of persons with medical conditions putting them at higher risk for severe complications from influenza.
"Last year we saw the emergence of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus or ‘swine flu,’” said John Beckley, director of Hunterdon County Public Health. “This virus caused the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. When you work in public health, you take these kinds of events seriously. While we can’t be 100 percent certain, it’s widely expected that H1N1 will continue to spread this flu season, along with the seasonal viruses.” To ensure that the public is as protected as possible, this year’s flu vaccine contains the H1N1 strain along with two other strains that are likely to be a threat.
“Seasonal flu should not be taken lightly," cautioned Beckley. "It causes more than 23,000 deaths each year in the U.S. A flu shot is the best defense and should be made a personal priority as we enter this flu season.”
For more information, see www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/fluinfo.htm