It's flu season and during National Influenza Vaccination Awareness Week from December 7 - 13, officials with the Ocean County Health Department are urging residents to take precautions, especially the elderly and children. 

(Robert Giroux, Getty Images News)
(Robert Giroux, Getty Images News)

“Every year an estimated 36,000 individuals die from influenza-related illnesses, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized nationwide. Rates of serious illness and death are highest among persons older than 65 years of age and persons of any age who have medical conditions that place them at increased risk for complications from seasonal influenza,” said Daniel Regenye, Ocean County Health Department Public Health Coordinator.

The rate of seasonal influenza activity peaks between January and March and according to the Health Department, it takes about one to two weeks to build immunity after receiving the seasonal influenza vaccine.

"We're still seeing a low rate of influenza in New Jersey, but that can change any day," said OCHD Public Information Officer Leslie Terjesen.

Despite concerns about this year's flu vaccination not being as protective against a mutated strain, it can still decrease the severity of the illness caused by the virus and protect against other circulating strains, according to CNN, which reported the Centers for Disease Control still recommends getting the vaccine.

Terjesen said some people may get the virus later on after getting the flu shot, "But it would certainly, probably be a much milder case." She also stressed, "It is not a live virus, you cannot get the flu from the flu shot."

The vaccination is based on three different strains of flu, and this year a Quadrivalent vaccine including four different strains of flu also is available, according to Terjesen.

She also warned children in New Jersey under the age of 60 months in a Nursery School or a certified Day Care program, must have a flu shot by December 31, or they won't be allowed to attend.

For more information on flu vaccinations and flu shot sites, call 732-341-9700, ext. 7515.  You can also visit the Health Department’s website at to get an updated list of flu/pneu clinics or follow the Health Department at Twitter@OCpublichealth or on Facebook.


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