H1N1

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 21, 2009) -- H1N1 vaccinations are expected to be available in November for active-duty servicemembers and their families, according to the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command.

The best protection against both seasonal influenza and H1N1 -- better known as swine flu -- is vaccination, Army medical officials said. They said vaccines are safe, effective, and have minimal risk profiles.

Army medical authorities urge everyone who is eligible to receive the vaccine to be immunized as soon as it becomes available.

Vaccine for active-duty personnel will be coming directly from the military vaccination suppliers and should begin to be available the first week of November, according to NARMC. Vaccines for family members will be coming from state health departments and may even be available prior to active-duty vaccinations, officials said.

Vaccinations for active-duty members and families are coming from the same manufacturers, but from different suppliers, authorities said. Vaccine supplies will arrive at different times, making it likely that servicemembers and family members will receive their vaccines at different times, officials said.

Initial supplies will be provided to those at highest risk: Pregnant women, household contacts and caregivers for children younger than 6 months of age, health-care and emergency medical services personnel, all people from 6 months through 24 years of age, and persons aged 25 through 64 years who have health conditions associated with higher risk of medical complications from influenza.

Sufficient novel H1N1 vaccine should be available for everyone by the end of the year, officials said.

In the meantime, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strongly recommend that all hospitals deny entry to visitors who are sick with H1N1. Military medical authorities discourage those with symptoms of influenza from visiting hospital patients.

Symptoms of influenza include fever together with sore throat, cough, runny nose or other upper respiratory symptoms that resemble "chest colds."

Medical authorities say the fever should be gone for at least 24 hours before considering any visit to a hospital patient.

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Page last updated Wed October 21st, 2009 at 15:31