This post was written by HMCS (SW/AW/FMF) Scott Thrasher, Hospital Corp Planner, U.S. Bureau of Medicine and Surgey (BUMED).
As the flu season rapidly approaches, I wanted to take a moment and remind all Sailors, Marines, and family members of their responsibility to receive the annual vaccination that will soon be available. As a Preventive Medicine Technician, well schooled in all immunization and vaccination programs, I can speak confidently about the safety of this initiative.
This vaccination will provide protection from a variety of influenza viruses that are out there and I’m happy to report that you’ll only need to get one shot this year as both the H1N1 and the seasonal flu vaccines have been combined. I would say that getting only one shot that has a lot of protective benefit against several strains of the flu virus is a pretty good deal. The added incentive to get the shot this year is that it’s mandatory for all active duty military personnel, Selected Reserves and healthcare workers.
Contrary to some widely held beliefs, Influenza is not comparable to the common cold and carries with it some potentially severe consequences if contracted. Influenza viruses are, most assuredly, a threat to the operational readiness of our Sailors and Marines.
Last year, while deployed at sea onboard an aircraft carrier in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, our ship fell victim to the H1N1 virus prior to the introduction of the vaccination. Despite the best efforts of the entire crew, 286 Sailors had to be quarantined, resulting in over 1,400 lost man-hours during critical combat flight operations.
The 2010 seasonal flu vaccine protects against the three influenza viruses, researchers indicate will be the most virulent this year and, depending on your demographic information, everyone can expect to receive either an injection or dose of spray administered via the nose. Shipments are beginning to arrive with more expected by the end of September. I encourage all to receive their vaccination as soon as possible thereafter.
Remember, we cannot take care of others if we fail to take care of ourselves. See you in the clinic!
For more H1N1 and Seasonal Flu information, visit http://www.med.navy.mil/Pages/Flu_H1N1_Info.aspx and the U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Facebook page.