Seasonal Influenza ("The Flu")
Seasonal (or common) flu is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available. In 2010 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot each year. Also in 2010 a new vaccine designed specifically for seniors, called FluZone High-Dose was licensed by the FDA.
Flu Vaccination Clinics
High-Dose Flu Vaccine: The high-dose vaccine is a flu vaccine licensed only for seniors. It is available for persons who have the following insurance as their primary payer: Medicare Part B, Aetna, CIGNA, Coventry, Humana, Medicare Railroad, United Healthcare, and United Mine Workers of America. Please bring your Medicare card and supplemental insurance cards to the clinic. The consent form for the high-dose vaccine is available at the clinic.
Upcoming Free Flu Clinics:
The Department of Health has a very limited supply of flu vaccine. Call 609-463-6581 to schedule an appointment.
Ask about the high-dose vaccine for seniors and if you need the pneumonia vaccine. The pneumonia vaccine is available for $15 (cash or check).
For All County Flu Clinics:
Daycare and Preschool Vaccine Requirements: The state of NJ requires that children less than 5 years old who attend daycare or preschool receive a flu shot each year by the end of December. Children who are not vaccinated will not be able to attend school until the end of the flu season, which is currently estimated as the end of March.
Persons with a severe allergy to eggs, other vaccine component, or who have been told by a doctor that they have had Guillain-Barre syndrome must receive the flu vaccine from their personal physician.
Persons with a severe allergy to Thimerosal can receive the vaccine from the Department of Health, but not at the drive-through clinic.
Seniors with a severe allergy to latex may not be able to receive the FluZone high-dose vaccine. Call 465-1200 with questions on the high-dose vaccine and latex allergies.
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Who Should Be Vaccinated
On February 24, 2010 vaccine experts voted that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine each year starting with the 2010-2011 influenza season. CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted for "universal" flu vaccination in the U.S. to expand protection against the flu to more people.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:
Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
People 50 years of age and older
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including:
Health care workers
Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
Detailed information about the injectable flu shot is available here in English and Spanish. Detailed information about the nasal flu shot is available here in English and Spanish. Information about Thimerosal is available here.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services has mandated that all children six months through 59 months of age attending any child-care center or preschool facility receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine between September 1 and December 31.
Who Should Not Be Vaccinated
Some people should not be vaccinated without first consulting a physician. They include:
People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
Children less than 6 months of age (influenza vaccine is not approved for use in this age group).
People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.
If you have questions about whether you should get a flu vaccine, consult your health-care provider.
Flu Activity in Cape May County
The Cape May County Monthly Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) Surveillance Update is a monthly report which provides information on influenza-like illness activity, specifically for Cape May County.
Return to Overview
The seasonal flu season peaks between late January and late February in New Jersey. There is plenty of time to get a seasonal flu shot and be protected.