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The Presidio’s public affair’s office recently sat down with the Army’s California Medical Detachment’s Chief of Public Health, Maj. Jodi Brown to talk about tomorrow's flu drive at the General Stilwell Community Center for children 6-35 months old, and how you can stay healthy this flu season.

Tell us about tomorrow’s flu drive.

MAJ JODI BROWN: We’re planning on vaccinating children from 6 months to 35 months (3 years old). We’ll be in the parking lot in front of the General Stilwell Community Center, Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. When you arrive we’ll have people directing traffic to the vaccination site, and first you fill out a screening form to see if your child can safely have receive a flu shot, then we’ll vaccinate them. Everything will be done with COVID-19 safety procedures and we’ll ensure social distancing. But this should be a fun event! We’re partnering with MWR to provide live DJ’s and fall decorations.

Click here for the pre-vaccination screening form: DHA Influenza Screening Form.pdf [PDF - 291.2 KB] (additional copies will be at the event).

This is just their first shot when will they be getting their booster?

BROWN: We’ll hold another event next month for their booster.

What about flu shots for those over 3 years old?

BROWN: We won’t see the bulk of those vaccines arrive until mid-December, so we encourage everyone to go to local tri-care pharmacies and flu drives to receive their vaccine.

Why is it important to get your flu shot?

BROWN: It’s important to help prevent yourself and others around you from catching the flu. The more people who get the flu shot – the more people who are protected against the flu. This year it’s more important than ever, experts are saying there’s a potential for a twin-demic, as we’ll be having an influx of flu and COVID at the same time. We want to prevent that the best we can.

Will this flu shot protect us from COVID-19?

BROWN: It will not, the flu show will provide you protection from the flu but not COVID-19.

Other than the flu shot, what are some things I can do to mitigate my risk of contracting the flu?

BROWN: Similar to what we are already doing for COVID, stay home when you’re sick, wash your hands, and cover your mouth when you sneeze.

Since the flu and COVID-19 share some of the same symptoms, what should I do when start getting symptoms that are flu-like?

BROWN: If you’re active duty, you can come to the POM clinic during sick call from 6:30 to 8 a.m., Monday-Friday, and they’ll evaluate you with a flu or COVID test as required. If you’re a family member and your symptoms are mild, call our appointment line. We’ll schedule a virtual counter first, and they’ll evaluate you to see if you either need a flu or COVID test. If you’re having moderate to severe symptoms, like difficulty breathing, you should go to the emergency room to be evaluated. Active Duty on the weekend should call the Tricare Nurse Advice Line at 800-874-2273 for mild symptoms and to the closest ER for moderate to severe symptoms.

Who should get the flu vaccine?

BROWN: Everyone six months or older should get the flu shot! Most importantly, our vulnerable populations should prioritize getting the vaccine: those under five, over 65, and those with underlying medical conditions.

Anything else you would like to add?

BROWN: Make sure you get your flu shot as soon as possible, and talk to your service specific medical liaisons to get your records updated.