Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Interim Department of Health and Community Wellness Director Denise V. Rodgers, M.D, announced today that the City of Newark is providing free influenza vaccinations, on Thursday, February 16, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at City Hall, located at 920 Broad Street. Newark residents seeking flu shots must present proof of residency, which can be personal identification or a utility bill with their name and address on it.
The shots are being offered as an observance of Valentine’s Day, so that Newark residents can prevent themselves and their loved ones from suffering the flu and its effects.
“We are launching this one-day initiative to celebrate Valentine’s Day, as a show of our love for the residents of Newark and keeping them healthy. I urge all Newark residents, especially our residents with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, lung or heart disease, who are most vulnerable to the flu virus, to protect themselves by taking advantage of these free vaccinations for flu prevention, so they can enjoy a healthy Valentine’s Day with their loved ones,” Mayor Baraka said.
In the United States, millions of people get sick, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu and related complications every year. While it is not possible to predict how severe an influenza season will be, or which viruses will dominate, one constant is the need for annual vaccination to help decrease the impact of this contagious disease.
As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can still provide protection against the flu. Most flu activity peaks between December and March in the United States, although activity can last as late as May. Currently, flu season is in full swing and recent reports show New Jersey is experiencing “high" influenza activity.
The Center for Disease Control recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. This season, CDC recommends the use of injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) and not the nasal spray flu vaccine. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
Everyday preventive actions include the following:
Additionally, if you get the flu, antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter.
Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications. CDC recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat hospitalized patients with flu, people with severe flu illness, and people with flu symptoms who are at high risk of serious flu complications based on their age or health. Treatment with an antiviral drug can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a very serious illness that could result in a hospital stay.
For additional information on the influenza, please visit the following:
Remember, the best thing you and your valentine can do for each other is get the flu shot and follow the above measures!
For more information regarding the 2016-2017 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program, contact Velda Font-Morris MPH, Immunization Coordinator, Department of Health and Community Wellness at (973) 733-7643 or the Division of Surveillance and Prevention at (973) 733-7592