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Public Affairs Office
CMR 442 APO AE 09042
U.S. Army Hospital – Nachrichten Kaserne
Postfach 103180 69021 Heidelberg, Germany
Contact Steve Davis 371-3317 Tel. 06221-17-3317
October 20, 2008
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Injectable flu vaccines available in Army clinics now

    HEIDELBERG, Germany – Injectable influenza vaccines have arrived at all Army medical clinics throughout Europe, and all employees are encouraged to get immunized.
    There is a sufficient amount of influenza vaccination available this year, Army medical officials report. Flu vaccinations are free to authorized beneficiaries and, in accordance with Army regulations, influenza vaccinations are also non-chargeable to DoD civilians, Army and Air Force Exchange Service employees, Non-Appropriated Fund employees, Local National employees and certain DoD contractors and their family members.
    The latest shipments of injectable vaccines make it possible to provide flu vaccine to all health care beneficiaries in theater, regardless of age. FluMist® intranasal vaccine, approved for 2-49 year olds, has been available since late September.
    Injectable vaccine, an inactivated protein-derived vaccine given by intramuscular injection, may be used for those with medical conditions that preclude the use of FluMist®, such as pregnancy or certain allergies, long-term health problems, or where intranasal vaccine is unavailable due to logistical constraints. There is a pediatric injectable vaccine especially for infants and children ages 6-36 months and a separate injectable for older children and adults. Injectable vaccine will be administered to beneficiaries for whom FluMist® has not been recommended, to include adults 50 and older.
    “It’s important to get vaccinated each year,” said Col. Evelyn M. Barraza, preventive medicine consultant for the Europe regional Medical Command. She said influenza viruses change from year to year. Protection that develops after a person is infected or is immunized against the circulating viruses of one season does not provide adequate cross-protection when a new influenza strain develops. Because of this, flu vaccines are updated every year and an annual vaccination is recommended.
    Studies have shown that both the injectable vaccine and the nasal spray vaccine are safe and effective at preventing influenza.
    Authorized beneficiaries should contact their local Army medical clinic to learn about its influenza immunization schedule.
    This year’s goal is to immunize 95 percent or more of the U.S. Army Europe active duty population by December 31. Members of the active force can expect to receive information from their units. Other beneficiaries should contact their local heath clinic.
    The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta publishes guidelines for influenza vaccinations, and the Army will follow those guidelines in its annual campaign.
    For more general information on influenza and the benefits of receiving the annual vaccination, visit the CDC web site at www.cdc.gov/flu/ or www.vaccines.mil/flu .