By Katherine Rosario, Lyster Army Health Clinic Public AffairsDecember 20, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (December 20, 2013) -- Lyster Army Health Clinic started an ambitious four-week flu campaign in October and has since given 99.09 percent of Soldiers on Fort Rucker their yearly flu vaccination.
Keeping Fort Rucker's Soldiers healthy is important since most of them are flight students and often work long hours, both studying and flying, said Staff Sgt. Jamie Weber, primary care clinic NCO in charge at LAHC.
"We pushed harder this year to get all our Soldiers vaccinated quickly because we don't want anyone to come down with the flu and risk spreading it throughout the community," Weber said, adding about 4,000 Soldiers were vaccinated during the four-week campaign. "We only have about 36 Soldiers who haven't received their flu shot or mist and we are tracking them down now."
More vaccinations were ordered this year due to the shortage last year and out of the 9,000 ordered, about 1,700 are still available.
Patients can receive their 2014 flu vaccination at the preventive medicine clinic from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. during the week. The clinic closes at noon the third Wednesday of each month, and will be closed Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31- Jan. 1.
"With the holidays around the corner, many of our patients are on vacation, so, if you're in the area, now is the best time to come in and get your annual flu immunization," said Lt. Col. Samuel Jones, chief of preventive medicine at LAHC.
Flu cases most often peak in February, and the flu season doesn't end until March or April depending on the severity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have even been cases of the flu as late as May.
The CDC changed the recommended age for flu shots for children this year from 2 years to 6 months old.
"Children have always been able to receive a smaller dose of the vaccination, and it is safe and recommended for children to be vaccinated against the flu," said Jan Pridgen, licensed practical nurse at LAHC, adding if a child does become sick, the severity of the symptoms will be decreased due to the vaccination.
Those who work with the elderly, in clinics or hospitals, around children in a day care setting and pregnant women are encouraged to get the flu shot as early as possible.
"We want to keep our community healthy, and making sure you and your Family receive the flu vaccination is a great way to start off the New Year," Weber said.