October 2022
Dear Colleague,

Every year in the fall, The Arc of New Jersey distributes information on influenza and the importance of getting the flu vaccine. During the  2022-23 flu season, some individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) may be at risk for both the seasonal flu and COVID-19.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensive website information that addresses the flu and flu vaccines as well as COVID-19. Per the CDC website:  

COVID-19 Booster Shots:
The CDC's data suggest that the vaccine effectiveness from previous COVID-19 booster shots wanes over time. Therefore, the CDC is recommending a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster for everyone who is eligible. Please check with the health care provider for the individual with IDD if you have any questions about the newly developed COVID-19 booster shots. See this link for a series of updated frequently asked questions (FAQs) about COVID-19 vaccination:  

Similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19:
See this link from the CDC, which explains the similarities and differences, as well as the symptoms of the flu and COVID-19.

In addition to the information on the flu and COVID-19 discussed above, the CDC website also has extensive information that is specific to the 2022-23 flu season. The CDC information on persons who are at high risk for flu complications is especially important since some individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are in the high risk group. Please see the links below for further information. More extensive information can be found directly on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/flu.

Visit the CDC's Children with Neurologic Conditions & Influenza (Flu)
website for more information at:
Caregivers are urged to speak to the health care providers for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to discuss specific issues or concerns regarding the flu or the flu vaccine.

  • The CDC recommends that flu vaccination be offered by the end of October 2022, if possible. However, if getting the flu vaccine before the end of October is not feasible, then it should be done as soon as possible thereafter.  
  • Seasonal flu activity may begin as early as October and November and can continue to occur as late as May. Most commonly, flu activity peaks in the United States between December and February.
  • The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Having received a flu vaccine is not a guarantee that the individual will not get the flu. However, in general, if persons who have received the flu vaccine do get the flu, studies have shown that the flu vaccine can reduce the severity of their illness.
  • If a person with I/DD is at high risk of developing flu complications and does get flu symptoms, the caregiver should contact the health care provider quickly for possible treatment with a flu antiviral drug. These drugs work best when given within 48 hours of when the symptoms begin.  The CDC recommends that people who are at high risk of developing serious flu complications and who get flu symptoms during flu season be treated with flu antiviral drugs as quickly as possible without waiting for confirmatory testing.

These groups of individuals are at high risk for complications from the flu:  
Persons with neurologic conditions, which include:
  • Intellectual disability
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Epilepsy
  • Moderate to severe developmental delay
  • Disorders of the brain and spinal cord
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Stroke

In addition, persons with the following characteristics are at high risk for complications from the flu:
  • Asthma
  • Diabetes
  • Young Children
  • Adults 65 years and older
  • People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
Click on our flu flyer below to download a PDF
Thank you,

Beverly Roberts
Director, Mainstreaming Medical Care
The Arc of New Jersey
985 Livingston Avenue
North Brunswick, NJ 08902

Click here to see The Arc of NJ's COVID-19 information and resource page. Click here to access information from the State Of New Jersey on COVID-19.
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