High Levels of Flu Activity Statewide; Department Recommends Vaccination against Flu

Flu activity is high in all regions of the state, according to the Department’s weekly flu surveillance report being made public today. Three of five regions of the state reported moderate flu activity last week and today’s weekly report shows all five regions are reporting high activity. 

The report can be viewed at:  http://www.state.nj.us/health/flu/fluinfo.shtml#rep 

“New Jersey’s health care facilities and medical officers continue to see large numbers of visits due to influenza like illness. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get the flu vaccine,” said Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd .  “The good news is that the vaccine is a very good match for the strains of flu that are circulating in the community right now.” 

To find a nearby pharmacy offering flu vaccine, please visit the Find a Flu Shot Locator on the Department’s website. The Department recommends calling the pharmacy first. People can also search online for a local urgent care center.  Urgent care centers often have physicians and nurse practitioners on staff who can administer flu vaccine. 

Parents who have difficulty locating vaccine for children under 18 may be able to access vaccine at local pharmacy walk-in medical clinics. Pharmacists cannot vaccinate anyone under 18 years of age: however, CVS Minute Clinics are staffed with nurse practitioners and physician assistants who may be able to vaccinate the preschool/childcare population. Consumers should access the CVS Minute Clinic website for locations and detailed information about the populations these clinics serve: www.minuteclinic.com 

If a health care provider’s vaccine supply is running low, providers can re-order vaccine from a list of commercial distributors and manufacturers provided by the National Influenza Vaccine Summit at http://www.preventinfluenza.org/  

There are simple preventive steps that everyone should be taking to prevent the spread of the flu: 

  • Cover our mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
  • Wash your hands frequently
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way
  • Stay home from work or school when you are sick           

Those who do get the flu should stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine)-except to get medical care. For more tips on what to do if you get sick visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/takingcare.htm

Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. TLS.

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  1. Some guy tells me he has taken the vaccine ever since they started giving it, and many times he still got the flu. He stopped taking the shot and hasn’t had it since. Could be just good mazel.

  2. CVS is getting shipments weekly, by me it’s every Tuesday morning, however, on my way home from work yesterday they were already out of that morning’s vaccine. I know that both CVS and Walgreen’s have updates on their websites for each store location as to what vaccines they have in stock, which I have found to be quite accurate. To TLS, the picture for this article is grossing me out!

  3. An independent meta-analysis of vaccines against influenza has found that claims of benefit have been significantly exaggerated.

    The report, released last month by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, was based on a comprehensive review of data published from 1967 to 2012.1

    Evidence for “consistent high-level protection is elusive,” the researchers concluded. Although vaccination was found to provide modest protection from infection in young healthy adults who rarely have complications of flu, the researchers found that “evidence for protection in adults 65 years of age and older [who represent over 90% of deaths from flu] . . . is lacking.”

    Perhaps boosting our immune systems is the best defense.

  4. The CIDRAP review reports 10 key findings, only some of which feature in current media coverage.

    The report says that the current flu vaccine offers “substantially lower” protection than that offered by most routinely recommended vaccines. However, the report has concluded that during some flu seasons, the jab offers substantially more protection for most people compared with not being vaccinated at all.

    The media makes repeated claims that the flu vaccine is “far less effective in the elderly”. This is not actually an appropriate reflection of the review’s findings. The review says that there is “limited evidence” surrounding the effectiveness of the vaccine in the elderly – this is not the same as “limited effectiveness” in this group. Absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.

    It says that for one form of the vaccine (trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine, or TIV) the evidence surrounding protection varied:

    Among children aged of 2-17, they found inconsistent evidence of vaccine protection

    Among healthy adults (aged 18-64), the vaccine offered moderate protection (approximately 59%).

    There was limited evidence of TIV effectiveness for people over the age of 65

    For the other type of vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine, or LAIV), CIDRAP found:

    Evidence of high protection (approximately 83%) among children aged six months to seven years

    A lack of evidence for protection among people aged 8-59

    Limited evidence among adults over the age of 60

    The report certainly does not conclude that flu vaccination be abandoned, or is a “waste of taxpayer’s money”.

    But it does suggest that a new approach be taken to the development of the annual vaccine by both drug companies and governments, so that the protection it offers can be brought up to the standards we see with jabs for other diseases.

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