(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Pamela Lampitt, Joseph Lagana, Angelica Jimenez, Tim Eustace and Vince Mazzeo to promote seasonal influenza awareness among New Jersey seniors cleared its final legislative hurdle on Thursday.
The bill (A-3890) would require the Department of Health to prepare and publish online printer-friendly information about the flu vaccine for older adults.
“Older New Jerseyans are far more susceptible to serious flu-related complications. Because their immune systems are weaker, the flu can result in hospitalization or even death among seniors,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “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.”
The information would include items such as:
- How vaccination can help prevent the flu in older adults;
- The availability and efficacy of the flu vaccine for older adults;
- A recommendation that seniors consult with their physicians regarding the flu vaccine; and
- The particular individual and community benefits of vaccination among older adults sharing close quarters, such as residents of continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs).
Each CCRC in New Jersey would be required to post the information in a conspicuous public place in the facility no later than August 1 of each year. The provisions of the bill, however, do not require seniors to receive a flu vaccination, the sponsored noted.
“In environments where many people regularly share a space, the flu can be transmitted very rapidly,” said Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “It’s especially important that residents of senior housing communities understand the risk of the influenza virus spreading.”
“As we age, our immune systems weaken, making older adults particularly vulnerable to illness during the flu season,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). “Greater awareness can help reduce this threat.”
“For seniors, the flu can easily turn into pneumonia or bronchitis,” said Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Vaccination and awareness are keys to reducing the severity of flu cases.”
“It’s important to remind our seniors, even those who are healthy and active, about the benefits of flu vaccination and staying vigilant during the height of the season,” said Mazzeo (D-Atlantic). “We should always be looking out for the seniors in our communities.”
The bill, which gained unanimous approval from the Assembly in March, passed the Senate 35-0 on May 18. The Assembly approved the measure 74-0. It now heads to the Governor for further consideration.