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NJ Department of Health marks National Influenza Vaccination Week with reminder to stay up to date against respiratory viruses

NEW JERSEY – With respiratory virus season underway and in recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 4-8, the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) is reminding residents to stay up to date by getting their annual flu vaccine as well as the 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccine and RSV shot if eligible.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone ages six months and older.

“Flu shots are safe, effective, and the best way to avoid becoming sick, especially if you are pregnant, an older adult, or have underlying health conditions,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Kaitlan Baston. “Getting your yearly flu shot, along with the latest COVID-19 vaccine, will help keep you healthy during the holidays and throughout the winter season.”  

The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. Yet, in New Jersey, too many adults and children are left unprotected each year. Despite these benefits, during the 2022-2023 flu season, only 49.7% of adults (ages 18 years and older) and 69.5% of children (ages six months through 17 years old) in New Jersey received a flu vaccine.

Adults ages 65 years and older, pregnant individuals, and individuals with chronic health conditions like asthma and heart disease, are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. Flu vaccines should also be a priority for those who live with or care for persons at higher risk. This includes health care personnel and people who have children less than 6 months of age in their households, since these children are too young to receive the flu vaccine. Flu vaccination is required in certain health care settings under state law.

Flu vaccination is available at health care provider offices, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, and local health departments. Many vaccines are covered by insurers at little to no cost to individuals. In addition, NJDOH’s Vaccine Preventable Disease Program (VPDP) helps to reduce economic barriers to childhood vaccines through the Vaccines for Children program, which offers vaccines at no or low cost to eligible children through health care providers enrolled in the program. The VPDP also administers the 317-funded adult program, which provides vaccines to uninsured and underinsured adults.

In addition, in September, the CDC recommended that everyone ages 6 months and older get vaccinated with the new 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines as the most up-to-date protection against the virus and its variants. The COVID-19 vaccine will remain free for most people through the Vaccines for Children Program, most commercial/private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid programs, and the 317/Bridge Access Program.  

The Department of Health’s goal is to keep our state healthy by ensuing everyone is offered access to the flu shot. NJDOH supports several community initiatives to support flu vaccination and prevention of severe illness from influenza.

  • Funded by the NJDOH, the Power to Protect New Jersey Against the Flu campaign, through the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, aims to emphasize the importance of flu vaccination and prevention for all New Jersey residents through a digital toolkit of resources, including shareable graphics and social media messaging.
  • The New Jersey Influenza Honor Roll recognizes institutions that promote flu prevention within their communities. Four categories of eligible institutions include: educational facilities, community-based organizations, businesses, and health care facilities. Activities may include flu clinics, flu prevention campaigns, and partnerships with local organizations to promote flu vaccination. Applications for the 2023-24 flu season will be accepted through March 31, 2024.
  • The New Jersey College and University Flu Challenge teams NJDOH up with colleges and universities in the state to improve flu vaccination rates among college students. The challenge encourages friendly competition between institutions to determine which campus can achieve the highest flu vaccination rates. Each participating institution develops and implements a unique influenza campaign to fit the needs of its student body. Applications are accepted through December 31, 2023. For more information, visit

COVID-19 vaccination locations can be found at or by calling the statewide COVID-19 Vaccine Call Center (1-855-568-0545).  For help finding locations participating in the Vaccines for Children and the 317/Bridge Access programs, visit

For general flu information, visit

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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