To the Editor:

The Westfield Board of Health met on Dec. 5.

The seasonal influenza vaccination program is continuing. A pediatric flu clinic will be held on Friday, Dec. 9, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Municipal Building. All children who attend preschool must be vaccinated. A simple vaccination can prevent the flu and protect the children. It is best to be vaccinated before the flu starts spreading. Residents can find information on eligibility and costs for health department vaccinations at http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health.

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Five residents were vaccinated as part of the Vaccines for Adults Program. This program provides vaccines against many preventable infectious diseases for uninsured individuals or persons with Medicaid or Medicare (but not Part D). These vaccines include chickenpox, hepatitis A and B, human papilloma virus (HPV), influenza, measles, mumps and rubella, meningitis, pneumonia, shingles, and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap). For more information and to schedule an appointment, please contact Laura Scanlon, BSN, MS, the Public Health Nursing Supervisor, at 908-789-4070 x4074 or lscanlon@westfieldnj.gov.

Two dogs in town were involved in biting incidents, one of a resident and one of another dog. Residents are reminded that they must control and properly leash their pets. In addition, all dogs and cats are required to be vaccinated and licensed with the Town. For more information on how to license your pet, please contact the Town Clerk’s Office at 908-789-4030 or visit the Town web page at http://www.westfieldnj.gov.

In November, 20 retail food establishments were inspected and all were satisfactory, except one was conditionally satisfactory. The restaurant was provided information, deficiencies were corrected and it will be reinspected.

The Health Department sponsors with Overlook Hospital free glucose and blood pressure screening and screening for bone density for a $10 fee. Screenings will occur on Monday, December 19, and on other Mondays, from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Overlook Downtown Center, 357 Springfield Avenue in Summit. For more information and to register, please contact the Overlook Community Health Department at 1-800-247-9580.

Information about all of the Department’s activities is available on its website http://www.westfieldnj.gov/health. The complete minutes of the December 5 meeting will be posted after review and approval at the Board’s reorganization meeting in January 2017. Details will be announced. The public is invited to attend.

At this time of year, we want to thank the staff and senior staff of the Westfield Regional Health Department for their dedication, commitment and work all year on behalf of public health in Westfield and our neighboring communities. The senior staff includes Megan Avallone, RN, MS, the Health Officer and Director, Ms. Scanlon and Helen Mendez, the Principal Registered Environmental Health Specialist. Congratulations too to Ms. Avallone, who will be President-Elect of the New Jersey Association of City and County Health Officials in 2017.

In addition, I thank the volunteer members of the Board of Health for their time and assistance and for sharing their wisdom and insights this past year. They are Thomas K. O'Neill, Vice President, Sherl Brand, RN, Dr. Vasilios Diamantopoulos, Jaclyn Kirna, Tricia Lerner, PA, Dr. Maria Lo Grippo, Neal Snitow and Dr. David Weinman, and David Oliveira, our Council Liaison. I also thank Mayor Andy Skibitsky and Jim Gildea, Town Administrator, for their strong support.

Finally, this is my last letter as President of the Board of Health. I appreciate the opportunity to have served as President for the past 6 years, but have reached the maximum term of office. Thank you to all my friends, neighbors and especially my family who have encouraged me and provided feedback and helpful suggestions. Thanks also to all the residents who have been interested in the public health promotion and disease and injury prevention activities in town. The Westfield Regional Health Department is a great resource and it has been my pleasure to help as part of its leadership team.