TRENTON, N.J. (1010 WINS) -- New Jerseyans should get their flu vaccines as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of a COVID-19 and flu “twindemic,” the head of the state’s health department said Monday.
Speaking at Gov. Phil Murphy’s briefing Monday afternoon, New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli urged residents to get vaccinated for the flu by the end of October at the latest.
“This year, we are preparing for the possibility of a ‘twindemic’: a severe flu season and a resurgence of COVID-19, which could strain healthcare resources,” she said. “Therefore, this year, more than ever, it is important that everyone six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu.”
Getting the flu vaccine won’t protect residents from COVID-19, but it will reduce flu-related illnesses and hospitalizations, she said. It will also help protect those who are more vulnerable to the flu, including babies, young children, older people and people with certain chronic health conditions.
Murphy, for his part, said he got his flu shot on Saturday morning. “I promised I would not show up today if I had not done so,” he said.
New Jersey reported 346 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths on Monday, bringing its case total to 196,968 and its death toll to 14,245, the governor said.
One of the people who died passed away on Sept. 10, and the other two people passed away on Sept. 9, he said. The state is also investigating 1,789 probable deaths.
As of Sunday, 420 people in the state were hospitalized with confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases, 91 of whom were in intensive care units and 41 of whom were on ventilators, he said.