Navy Medicine Maintaining Readiness Despite Flu Season

Story Number: NNS130115-14Release Date: 1/15/2013 4:35:00 PM
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By Valerie A. Kremer, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery Public Affairs

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (NNS) -- Navy Medicine announced Jan. 15, its military treatment facilities currently have sufficient amount of influenza vaccinations to reduce the risk of the flu for service members and beneficiaries despite the shortages experienced by its civilian counterparts.

According to public health experts, the greatest protection for flu comes in the form of vaccination.

"The flu can have a significant impact on readiness but vaccination is the best way to protect and reduce the risk of flu," said Cmdr. Natalie Wells, Public Health Emergency Officer, U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. "Navy Medicine military treatment facilities currently have an adequate supply of flu vaccines available for service members and beneficiaries."

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicators suggest there is a good match between the circulating flu virus strains and the current 2012-2013 seasonal flu vaccine, meaning this year's vaccine will protect most recipients from contracting the flu.

Navy Medicine also emphasized that treatment is available for service members and beneficiaries should they contract the flu.

"All influenza virus strains tested so far are responsive to antivirals such as Tamiflu," said Wells. "MTF pharmacies have adequate amounts of Tamiflu on hand and additional Tamiflu is accessible if needed."

Seasonal flu vaccination is mandatory for all DoD uniformed personnel who are not medically or administratively exempt.

Service members and beneficiaries still needing a flu vaccination should visit their local MTF.

According to Wells, to date, 94 percent of active duty Navy and 90 percent of active duty Marine Corps service members have received the flu vaccination.

In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, there are additional means of maintaining a strong immune system and readiness.

"Maintaining a clean work environment, good hygiene practices, and managing workforce exposure are some simple measures to reduce flu spread," said Wells.

For more information on the seasonal flu and how to protect yourself and your loved ones, please visit the Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center Influenza webpage here:

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of more than 63,000 Navy medical personnel around the world who provide high quality health care to more than one million eligible beneficiaries. Navy Medicine personnel deploy with Sailors and Marines worldwide, providing critical mission support aboard ship, in the air, under the sea and on the battlefield.

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Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hospitalman Abigail Doromal administers a flu shot to Master Chief Gunner's Mate William Lipsett,
120919-N-DJ346-013 JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (Sept. 19, 2012) Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Hospitalman Abigail Doromal administers a flu shot to Master Chief Gunner's Mate William Lipsett, assigned to Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam conducted a mass vaccination exercise in conjunction with normal flu season inoculations to demonstrate the capability to rapidly and effectively vaccinate active duty military and a selected segment of the DoD population in a pandemic environment. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Donald W. Randall/Released)
September 21, 2012
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