GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- The U.S. Army Health Clinic Grafenwoehr, in conjunction with 7th Army Training Command and U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, conducted a pandemic flu vaccination exercise Oct. 1-5.

The goal of the exercise was to vaccinate 90 percent of the available active duty population within the first 120 hours of the exercise -- testing the garrison's ability to respond to a real disease pandemic and rapidly immunize thousands of Soldiers.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) an influenza pandemic is a global outbreak of disease that occurs when a new influenza virus appears or "emerges" in the general population causing serious illness, as it spreads from person to person worldwide. The most cited example is the 1918 "Spanish Flu" influenza pandemic that killed approximately 30,000 people in NYC, 500,000 in the United States and as many as 50 -100 million worldwide.

By the 96 hour mark of the exercise, not only had 90 percent of the available active-duty population been vaccinated -- the original goal -- but 96 percent of the entire assigned active-duty population had received their vaccine.

"This is a huge achievement and reflects the incredible cooperation amongst the Health Clinic, Garrison, and Unit Commanders," said Lt. Col. Rose Smith, Grafenwoehr Health Clinic Commander.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu activity begins to increase in October, peaking between December and February and diminishing by May.

"The first and most important step in protecting against the flu is to get vaccinated," said Col. Kerry LeFrancis, Regional Health Command Europe Force Health Protection Officer. "Getting vaccinated helps to reduce the severity and spread of the disease and improves community immunity."

Flu immunization will continue at the Grafenwoehr Health Clinic, contact the clinic or speak with your primary care manager to get your vaccination.