PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- The medical department aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) completed a two-day shot exercise (SHOTEX) Sept. 1, in the reactor training trailer at Norfolk Naval Shipyard (NNSY) in Portsmouth, Va.
The exercise is a procedure to vaccinate the entire crew in a 72-hour timeframe with a seasonal vaccine that fights three viruses, including avian flu and H1N1.
"Every year the Navy wants to vaccinate all its active duty and Reserve components against the influenza virus," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SW/AW) Chris Zanetti, Truman's preventive medicine/medical readiness leading chief petty officer, from Fairfield, N.J. "This year they're treating it as if it were a pandemic influenza outbreak, which means most of the world would be affected. We have a 72-hour window to vaccinate the entire crew and report back to big Navy that we're finished."
In addition to providing situational training to Truman's medical department, the SHOTEX, which flexes its response to a possible real-world situation, is maintaining mission readiness for the crew.
"The SHOTEX is a huge force health protection measure which enables the crew to be vaccinated so they won't get sick as often," said Zanetti. "If we have a pandemic, with the chances of 50 percent of our crew being sick in quarters (SIQ), we wouldn't be able to sustain our mission. By providing the vaccine within a relatively short period of time, we have that force health protection measure in place to make sure we have a healthy fighting force to take care of anything Truman's tasked with."
Truman's Sailors also did their part by making their way to the trailer in a timely manner, understanding the overall significance of the exercise.
"The SHOTEX prevents the whole crew from getting sick," said Logistics Specialist Seaman (SW) Jessica Dorsey, from Camden, N.J. "Once one person or a few people get sick on the ship everyone can potentially get sick because we work so closely together, so this is definitely good for medical department so they don't have a whole bunch of people in their office all the time and for the divisions on the ship because if everyone's sick we won't be mission ready."
"It's beneficial to the command because it is taking a defensive stance against illness and keeping us ready to support the mission," said Machinist's Mate 3rd Class Bryan Gilstrap, from Stockbridge, Ga.
The only Sailors exempt from the SHOTEX were those who were temporarily assigned duty away from the ship or on leave.
"That was actually one of the best shots I've gotten," said Dorsey. "I barely felt it and I'm definitely afraid of needles. I was in and out in 10 minutes."
Truman is undergoing a docked planned incremental availability at NNSY and is scheduled to return to the fleet in the summer of 2012.
For more news from USS Harry S. Truman, visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn75/.