Flu vaccine now available

Maj. James Stigers
435th Aerospace Medicinal Flight

Dependents in the KMC now have an opportunity to receive flu vaccinations as the U.S. Air Force resumes total force influenza immunizations.

All beneficiaries can get a vaccine 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at the Ramstein Immunization Clinic, Bldg. 2114, while supplies last, said Lt. Col. Brian Ortman, 435th Medical Group Public Health Flight commander. Additional times and places will be announced.

A lower demand for the vaccine, combined with a mild flu season worldwide, have made it possible for the Department of Defense to procure more vaccine, said Colonel Ortman.

“Our first mission is to vaccinate all active-duty Air Force,” said Staff Sgt. Tran Pham, 435th MDG aerospace medical services journeyman. “But as long as vaccine is available we will continue to vaccinate eligible beneficiaries.”

Although the influenza activity has been low in Germany, it has increased steadily since mid-December and could continue for several months, said Colonel Ortman.
“Late-season vaccination can offer protection against the flu season,” said Colonel Ortman.

Already the medical group has vaccinated more than 3,500 patients, to include high-risk patients and deploying servicemembers. All high-risk patients have been notified and are advised to get their flu shot as soon as possible before the vaccine runs out, said Sergeant Pham.

“The United States and the DOD have done an admirable job of getting scarce flu vaccine to those who need it and in securing additional supplies of vaccine,” said Gen. T. Michael Mosely, Air Force vice chief of staff. “Commanders and unit health monitors will work with their medics to ensure maximal vaccination of the force.”

The medical group began giving flu shots at squadron work centers Feb. 1. The 435th MDG and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center have teamed-up to vaccinate voluntary beneficiaries. DOD teachers were vaccinated Jan. 28 at each KMC school. Also, the LRMC Immunization Clinic will be giving shots during normal duty hours.

Call the KMC Influenza Hotline at 479-2533 for more information. This recording informs people of the availability and locations of the vaccine. Appointments are not available, but patients are served on a walk-in basis. Patients are asked to bring their shot records.