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The flu vaccine: keeping you and your family safe

By Lt. Col. Katherine Tille | 11th Medical Group | October 25, 2017


The fall brings cooler weather and the changing color of leaves, but it should also remind everyone to receive their annual influenza vaccine.


The Malcolm Grow Immunization Services Clinic is offering a Flu Fast Track line at Malcolm Grow beginning Oct. 23, 2017. The fast track line will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. in the main lobby. All DOD/TRICARE beneficiaries age 9 years and older are eligible to receive their influenza vaccine at the drive.  Additionally, all DOD civilian personnel who are employed under the Defense Health Program are eligible to receive the vaccine.


The Pediatrics Clinic will hold an influenza vaccine drive in the Pediatrics clinic on Nov. 4, 2017 from 8 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., for children ages six months through 18 years. 


All active duty military members and eligible beneficiaries can receive their shots at the main Immunization Clinic if they are unable to attend the vaccine drives; however, patients may experience longer wait times.


The flu vaccine is mandatory for all military members, and must be received no later than Dec. 15, 2017.


“Each year seasonal flu epidemics occur throughout the United States. On average, more than 200,000 people across the U.S. are hospitalized each year with illness associated with influenza infections every year,” said Lt. Col. Nicole Stoneburg, 11th Medical Group medical services flight commander.


Although anyone can become ill from the flu virus, there are particular groups who are more vulnerable to the illness and include pregnant women, those younger than five years or greater than 65 years old, as well as those with chronic heart and lung conditions. Common flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fatigue. Seasonal flu can be detected year-round, but is most commonly seen during the fall and winter, with increasing illnesses beginning in October and peaking between December and March. Sporadic cases of influenza have already been reported throughout the country.


The best method of protection against the flu is to receive your annual influenza vaccine. This vaccine is updated every year to best match the predicted circulating virus strains. Per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nasal influenza vaccine will not be offered due to recent studies that did not show that it was effective as the injectable form in recent years. 


Studies have also shown that the injectable flu vaccine is safe for most people with egg allergy, but should be provided under close observation. If you or your child has an egg allergy, please inform the technician prior to receiving the vaccine, and you should be vaccinated in the main Immunization clinic.


Please take advantage of this opportunity to receive your flu vaccine now and protect yourself and your loved ones. 


For more information please call the Allergy/Immunology and Immunizations Clinic at (240) 612-1583.