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News > Flu vaccinations now available to eligible beneficiaries
Flu vaccinations now available to eligible beneficiaries

Posted 12/15/2008   Updated 12/15/2008 Email story   Print story


437th Medical Group immunization clinic

12/15/2008 - CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C.  -- It's time to start thinking seriously about flu season.

As members of the Air Force, we fall into a unique category -- Airmen are required to maintain a high level of fitness and wellness to conduct our mission. A plane can't fly if the maintainers or aircrew are sick; a healthcare provider that is "on quarters" can't care for sick patients. Health is indeed a force multiplier. To keep Team Charleston strong, it is imperative that everyone comply with the vaccination program against influenza.

Currently, the mist and flu injections are available at the 437th Medical Group immunization clinic and will be administered to all eligible beneficiaries and Department of Defense civilians Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In addition, flu vaccinations will be available in the base exchange Dec. 19 from 9 a.m. to noon as a customer courtesy.

There are two types of flu vaccine. The first is Flumistâ„¢. This easy-to-administer nose spray is the preferred vaccine for healthy non-pregnant individuals 2 to 49 years of age. Airmen meeting these criteria receive the mist, which provides a better immune response than the injectable flu vaccine.

The second type of vaccine -- the traditional "shot in the arm"-- is best for children less than 2 years of age and adults 50 years or older or those with certain chronic diseases. Healthcare provider will choose the most appropriate vaccine for patients.

Influenza, better known as the flu, is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory system. It is primarily spread from person to person through the air, or via contaminated objects when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Thousands of individuals die each year in the United States and abroad from influenza or influenza-related complications.

The virus can affect anyone; however, the elderly, children and individuals with chronic health conditions or weakened immune systems are most at risk. The symptoms of flu can include fever, headache, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, extreme fatigue and a severe and often prolonged cough. Washing hands thoroughly several times a day or using germicidal hand sanitizers can control or prevent the spread of influenza.

The 437 MDG is committed to optimizing the health of patients. They ask everyone to be an active partner in maintaining their health, which includes keeping immunization statuses current. For further information about influenza, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control provide resources at

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