VICENZA, Italy - Every year, the U.S. Army Health Center Vicenza provides information about the importance of receiving the flu vaccination as it is the most effective way to prevent contracting the illness, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This year, the U.S. Army Garrison Italy is running a campaign to administer the flu shot during specific dates until the end of January.
There are three simple steps required to make a flu shot appointment. The first step is to schedule an appointment online, complete the paperwork, and follow COVID-19 guidelines.
“More than 1,000 people signed up to receive their flu shot during our campaign dates, and we encourage anyone who needs or wants a flu shot to schedule an appointment on the USAG-Italy homepage,” said Maj. Sean O’Brien, Pharmacy Officer in Charge for U.S. Army Health Center Vicenza.
O’Brien explained due to COVID-19, appointments must be made to minimize crowds and maintain the required physical distancing measures.
“However, scheduled appointments allow maximum efficiency and safety to ensure an organized experience,” O’Brien said.
According to him, it is very easy to make an appointment for the flu shot. There are still dates and times available to receive it, including two Saturday events on January 23 and 30, which will offer pediatric doses for children six to 35 months of age.
“The response has been extremely positive with numerous Interactive Customer Evaluation (ICE) and social media comments expressing satisfaction with the efficiency and safety of the flu shot operation,” O’Brien said.
For those who may wonder if there are any repercussions for receiving both the flu and COVID-19 vaccines, O’Brien answered that it is advised that there is a separation from routine vaccines (influenza) with the COVID-19 vaccine by 14 days.
“That is, if you have received any vaccine in the past 14 days or plan to receive any vaccine in the next 14 days. As always, there is clinical decision making on a case-by-case basis with the patient and provider,” O’Brien said.
In Camp Darby, approximately 300 flu vaccine doses were issued to Service members and their Families.
“I wanted the vaccine this year more than in the past, with the thought that if I do get sick it would be easier to distinguish if I had COVID-19 from the regular flu and eliminate any doubt,” said Janine Wick, Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) Humanitarian Assistance Program manager in Livorno.
Wick added that the intent would be that, if being ill, “I would seek treatment for COVID since it is important to treat that in the early stages to ensure a quick recovery.”
Some 80 patients between pediatric and adults received the flu vaccine on January 19, 2021, the last day of the Camp Darby vaccination campaign.
“Flu vaccine this year is more important than any other year because it helps us identify the flu outbreak from COVID-19 outbreak,” said Tech Sgt. Eric Martinez, Air Force independent duty medical technician.
In Vicenza, the remaining dates to receive the vaccine are January 22, 23, 25 and 30.
Instructions and paperwork are available at USAG Italy appointments https://home.army.mil/italy/index.php
For further information and questions call (+39) 0444 - 61 - 9512.