National Immunization & Influenza Awareness

Monday, Aug. 11, 2014

What is it?

The month of August has been designated as National Immunization & Influenza Awareness Month. It is critically important that every Soldier, family member, Department of the Army civilian and health beneficiary receive all required immunizations. This includes yearly influenza immunizations to ensure the Army is a healthy and mission-ready force. In the U.S., influenza results in more than 25 million reported cases, 150,000 hospitalizations due to serious complications and more than 30,000 deaths annually. Immunization is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications.

Why is this important to the Army?

Army Medicine is committed to ensuring that every Soldier, family member, DA civilian, healthcare provider and retiree receives the vaccines they need to stay healthy. Flu seasons are unpredictable and have the potential to impact force readiness and the Army’s mission.

What has the Army done?

Immunizations are the best protection against disease and have saved more lives than any other medical measure in history. One economic analysis projected that the routine childhood immunization schedule can prevent up to 42,000 deaths and 20 million cases of disease. Morbidity from vaccine-preventable diseases has fallen 90 percent or more for most diseases since the mid-20th century.

What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future?

The Army continues to aggressively educate all Soldiers, family members and other beneficiaries on the importance of keeping their immunizations up to date. For the 2014-2015 influenza season, the Army has contracted for 1.8 million doses of influenza vaccine. This amount will ensure all in the care of the Department of the Army are protected against influenza. It is projected that manufacturers will begin delivering influenza vaccine to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in August.

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