Fall is officially here and the colder temperatures usher in the annual flu season. The flu vaccine is expected to arrive soon so the Army and Air Force medical teams have scheduled numerous vaccination events throughout the Kaiserslautern Military Community.
Due to delays caused by Hurricane Florence, scheduled event dates could change depending on when the vaccine arrives in Germany. Changes to the scheduled events will be shared on official social media for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Kleber Health Clinic, Baumholder Health Clinic and Ramstein 86th Medical Group.
Everyone who can, should, especially if pregnant
Army and Air Force health professionals recommend the flu vaccine for everyone ages six months and older to prevent getting the flu or reducing the severity and duration of symptoms. According to the Center for Disease Control, vaccination is especially important for pregnant women, who have a higher risk of severe symptoms and hospitalization. Mothers’ immunity also helps protect their babies, who cannot be vaccinated until they reach six months.
“Getting vaccinated is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu,” said Chief of Army Public Health Nursing for Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Lt. Col. Timothy Whoolery. “The flu is the most dangerous for infants, the elderly, pregnant women and people with health complications. Everyone who can be vaccinated, really needs to get vaccinated, for themselves and to prevent the flu from spreading to those in the community at the most risk.”
Vaccines for patients five years and older are expected to arrive first, with pediatric vaccines for children between six months and four years old expected later in October.
To build community immunity, the flu vaccine will be offered to military, Department of Defense civilians, retirees and families. In addition, local national employees will also be eligible for the vaccine at no cost. DoD civilians and their families should not have any out of pocket costs, however their health insurance companies will be billed directly so they should bring a copy of a current health insurance card.
For many people, annual vaccination is a requirement and not a recommendation. This includes military service members, healthcare workers, school-age children, as well as childcare facility employees and attendees. Anyone required to receive the vaccine should ask their unit or organization for guidance about when and where to get it.
Flu Vaccine Community Events
LRMC’s two health clinics at Kleber and Baumholder and the Air Force’s 86th Medical Group will host a number of flu vaccine events throughout the local communities. The vaccine will be offered at these community events to anyone six months and older who is eligible for healthcare at a military treatment facility, unless otherwise noted below.
Patients who are not able to visit a community flu vaccine event will be able to get vaccinated during scheduled appointments in their primary care clinics. Many immunization and pediatric clinics will also offer the vaccine as a walk-in service; however, wait times are typically much faster at the community events.
For more information on the flu vaccine, patients should speak with their primary care manager.