Navy Medicine Headquarters Holds Flu SHOTEX

By Shoshona Pilip-Florea, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

WASHINGTON - With the 2011 flu season approaching, Navy Medicine headquarters emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated by conducting an influenza immunization exercise (SHOTEX) for its personnel, Oct. 5.

The SHOTEX was held at U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) as the command partnered with the Joint Task Force National Capital Region Medical (JTF CapMed) immunization team to administer nearly 250 vaccinations to BUMED, active duty and civilian personnel.

“The seasonal flu vaccine this year will have the H1N1 strain plus other strains in the one vaccine, so there will be one shot that people will have this year to be vaccinated,” said Cmdr. Danny Shiau, deputy director for Emergency Preparedness at BUMED. “It’s important for all the active duty personnel to realize that the single best way to prevent the flu and ensure mission readiness is to get vaccinated.”

According to NAVADMIN 207/11, it is mandatory for all active duty service members to receive the flu vaccine. For most service members under 50 years of age, there is a choice between the traditional flu shot or the flu mist administered through the nasal cavity.

BUMED’s SHOTEX also included nearly 100 civilian employees. Although it is not mandatory for civilians to receive a vaccination, it is highly encouraged       especially for those who work in the health care field. Vaccinations administered during official command SHOTEX’s are done so at no charge to DoD civilians.

In addition to receiving the vaccine, Shiau recommended other methods to limit the effects of the seasonal and   H1N1 flu: cover your mouth when you cough; cover your mouth with a tissue to reduce the spread of germs; wash your hands often; avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth; and if possible, stay home from work, school and errands when    you are sick.

“The flu can seriously affect mission readiness, so we’ll be monitoring the seasonal flu virus carefully over the coming weeks and months and will be proactive in developing contingency plans to address any public health issues if required,” said Shiau.