Friday, October 21, 2016

TOP STORY >> Immunization policy changes

By Airman Grace Nichols
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

This season, the Department of Defense’s entire supply of flu vaccinations will be administered through the inactivated influenza vaccine or the flu shot.

The FluMist will not be available at DOD facilities or covered by TRICARE. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against using FluMist this year due to its ineffectiveness in preventing the flu among certain age groups. 

“Everyone who would like to or has to receive the flu vaccine (service members) will be vaccinated with the inactivated influenza vaccine or the flu shot,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryan Duckett, 19th Medical Group Immunizations Clinic NCO in charge.

In the past, FluMist was either comparable to, or better than, injectable vaccines in certain younger populations. However, in recent years that advantage was not evident. According to the CDC the reason for the recent poor performance is not yet known.

“We do not expect a flu vaccine shortage for the 2016-2017 season,” said U.S. Army Col. Margaret Yacovone, Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Branch chief. “The DOD has contracted for 3.6 million doses of injectable flu vaccine, which is expected to fulfill our immunization needs.”

Service members may go to the immunizations clinic at the 19th Medical Group to receive the mandatory vaccination.

“It’s important for service members to receive the flu vaccine to help prevent them from contracting the flu virus, which may result in them missing work or possibly being hospitalized in more severe cases,” Duckett said.

For more information, call 501- 987-2927.

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