Flu shots available at clinics

Ocean County residents are encouraged to roll up their sleeves and get their yearly flu vaccination shots now, according to Dr. Ella Boyd, Ocean County Health Department Coordinator, Community Health Services.

"We’ve already seen flu outbreaks in seveal states and it is just a matter of time before large numbers of New Jersey residents become ill, also," Boyd said. "This year there is no shortage of flu vaccine, so everyone who wants a flu vaccination will be able to get it."

To help make it easier for the public to receive the vaccination, the Ocean County Health Department started holding flu clinics which will continue for the next several weeks.

No appointments are needed and anyone can get a flu shot. The cost for the flu shot is $15. The pneumonia vaccination shot is also available for an additional $15. The shots may be given together, however, those under 65 years old will need a doctor’s note authorizing the pneumonia shot. Those clients on Medicare Part B will not have to pay for the shots. Retirees of the Railroad Retirement system or Aetna participants will not have to pay either, according to a press release.

Certain at-risk populations are encouraged by the health department to receive the immunization, including those over age 50, residents of long-term care facilities, children and teenagers who are on long-term aspirin therapy, those with metabolic diseases or weakened immune systems and women who will be more than three months pregnant during the flu seson Caregivers and household members of at-risk persons should also receive the flu shot as well as those in the medical profession and students living in dormitories, according to the press release.

According to Boyd, the immunization does not guarantee that those who receive it will not get the flu. It will, however, prevent severe cases of the flu and complications or death from the flu. She advises frequent hand-washing in addition to the flu shots for everyone. Those with severe allergy to hen’s eggs or who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past should not get immunized without consulting their doctor.

The clinic locations for the first half of November include:

In Jackson, the Jackson Community Center, Don Connor Boulevard, Nov. 7, 9-11 a.m.; Greenbriar Winding Ways Clubhouse, 81 North Baker Drive, Nov. 10, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

In Lakewood, the Lakewood municipal building, 231 Third St., Nov. 14, 2-3:30 p.m.