Influenza Vaccine

Influenza (Flu) Vaccine Recommendations for Workers

Which workers should be vaccinated?

  • Workers at highest risk for contracting or spreading influenza at work should
    receive the flu vaccine.

These workers include:

  • Health care workers in direct patient care, including those working in
    nursing homes and long-term care facilities

  • Workers caring for children younger than 6 months at home or at work

  • Women workers who will be pregnant during the flu season

  • All workers aged 65 years and older

  • Workers under 65 years with underlying chronic medical conditions.

In New Jersey the Department of Health is using these guidelines because of the severe nationwide shortage of influenza vaccine this season. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in coordination with its Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices, has identified the following priority groups to receive influenza vaccine this season:

  • all children aged 6-23 months

  • adults aged 65 years and older

  • persons aged 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions

  • all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season

  • residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities

  • children aged 6 months-18 years on chronic aspirin therapy

  • health-care workers involved in direct patient care

  • out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children aged <6 months

Healthy people between the ages of 2 and 64 years are encouraged to forego a flu shot this year.

Are there other options if the vaccine is not available?

  • The intranasal vaccine, FluMist, is an option for healthy workers under the age of 50 who do not have one of the high risk conditions mentioned above. Health care providers who receive intranasal influenza vaccine should avoid contact with severely immunocompromised patients for 7 days after receiving the vaccine.

What else can workers do to avoid getting the flu?

Influenza spreads from infected persons to the nose or throat of others. You can
help avoid catching or spreading the flu by following these practices:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze-and
    then dispose of the tissue

  • If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve

  • Wash your hands after you cough or sneeze, and after direct patient
    contact-with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner

  • If you develop symptoms of the flu (fever, cough, and muscle aches), stay
    home from work

What treatment is available for workers who develop flu?

Antiviral drugs, such as amantadine, rimantadine, zanamavir, and oseltamivir may
be prescribed by a doctor. These drugs may help to reduce symptoms and shorten the time of illness. They may be used to control the spread of flu in health care institutions. They may also be prescribed if you have close contact with someone proven to have influenza.

Where else can I get more information?

Click on the links below for quick access to updates and additional information
about the flu and vaccination recommendations.

New Department of Health and Senior Services
Hot Line
1-866-234-0964, Monday through Friday between 8Am - 5PM
CDC Flu Homepage
Interim Flu Vaccination Recommendations - 2004-05 Influenza Season
Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine
Transmission in Health Care Facilities
Information for Health Care Professionals
California Department of Health Services, Immunization Branch

This information was supplied by:

The Department of Health & Senior Services of NJ and
Occupational Health Branch of the California Department of Health Safety