Medical Minute: Giving for #GlobalHealth, bad weather ops and flu vaccine update

Happy December! Over the weekend I reflected on things we have to be thankful for, despite the pandemic. One of those things is really good health care. As intensive care units reach capacity in many areas in the United States and Europe, which in turn leads to climbing numbers of deaths attributable to COVID, my thoughts are with those around the world that lack care they need. Millions of people do not have basic health care. #GlobalHealth is the Defense Health Agency’s Cause of the Week in the Combined Federal Campaign. I encourage all to consider giving to our favorite charities ( If you need an idea, consider a cause that supports providing health care to those in need.

December brought with it continued cases of COVID, although across Kaiserslautern the numbers are stable at 112-148 cases per 100 thousand. As expected, Germany is well over one million cases. As you may know, the “lockdown light” restrictions have been extended to Dec. 20. On Ramstein, we have a similar stabilization of active cases. Continue to keep up the prevention measures that keep our population healthy.

December also brought our first snow of the season. When the installation has delayed reporting or closures, the Ramstein clinic follows the same guidelines. This includes all scheduled appointments or non-scheduled encounters (like COVID testing or lab and pharmacy operations). Any appointments scheduled during the delay/closure will need to be rescheduled. COVID testing should be accomplished on the next duty day or based on the direction from the Sick Hotline or your provider. As a reminder, there is no emergency care on Ramstein. The emergency room at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center is available 24/7 for emergencies.

Finally, influenza levels remain low across the United States and Europe. Numbers in the United States are well below levels from any of the previous five years. Europe is still at “inter-seasonal” levels, the baseline levels between flu seasons. Additionally, Ramstein received a small shipment of influenza vaccines. Unfortunately, it is well below the number needed for our population. We plan to distribute the shipment next week with a day for uniformed personnel, followed by a day for all beneficiaries. We will administer this small supply very quickly, and will shut down once we run out. We will provide further information about the flu vaccine lines by the weekend. As always, post any questions for future topics to the Ramstein social media pages. Stay healthy!