STATE—Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard announced yesterday that due to limited seasonal flu vaccine availability, New Jersey will suspend, for this school year, the mandatory requirement for children six months through 59 months of age attending any child-care center or preschool facility to receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine.
This suspension is based on delays in seasonal influenza vaccine production that have resulted in a delay in delivery and a supply shortage within New Jersey and across the nation. Flu vaccine manufacturing issues are beyond the control of the state of New Jersey.
Despite the suspension of this mandate, the department strongly recommends 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. The department believes that widespread use of influenza vaccine among preschool-aged children is the best way to prevent influenza and will decrease the incidence of influenza among both children and adults.
Parents should visit the department’s website at nj.gov/health and use the Find a Flu Shot Locators to find seasonal flu vaccine clinics. In addition, the department implemented a toll-free hotline (1-866-321-9571) operating every day to provide general information about vaccine availability.
The department does expect additional seasonal influenza vaccine in December. However, at this time, it is difficult to determine if this supply will be sufficient to meet the demand.
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