Bill encouraging flu vaccine for elderly passes House

A new bill is aimed at keeping seniors informed about the flu vaccine.
A new bill is aimed at keeping seniors informed about the flu vaccine. | Courtesy of
A bill that would increase awareness about the seasonal influenza vaccine among New Jersey senior citizens passed a state House vote 76-0 on Monday.

The A-3890 bill was sponsored by Democratic Reps. Pamela Lampitt, Joseph Lagana, Angelica Jimenez, Tim Eustace and Vince Mazzeo.

"Older New Jerseyans are far more susceptible to serious flu-related complications," Lampitt said. "Because their immune systems are weaker, the flu can result in hospitalization or even death among seniors. Supplying members of this specific population with the information they need to protect themselves and those around them can keep older residents healthy and save lives."

Under the bill, the New Jersey Department of Health would be required to develop and publish information pertinent to the flu vaccine and senior citizens. The pamphlets would  be available online in printer-friendly formats.

"In environments where many people regularly share a space, the flu can be transmitted very rapidly," Lagana said. “It's especially important that residents of senior housing communities get vaccinated and reduce the risk of the influenza virus spreading."

The pamphlets would contain information about how vaccinations work, the availability of the vaccine, the effectiveness of the vaccine, specific community and individual benefits from vaccines, and advice to consult with doctors about the vaccine.

"As we age, our immune systems weaken, making older adults particularly vulnerable to illness during the flu season," Jimenez said. "Greater awareness can help reduce this threat."

The bill will now go to the state Senate for consideration.

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New Jersey Department of Health

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