MilitaryAvenue participated in a DoD Roundtable discussion this morning with Commander (Dr) Danny Shiau, a Navy Preventive Health specialist and Dr Robert Morrow, a subject matter expert for the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu.
The doctors provided some great information for military families concerning treatment and the flu vaccines available to the military community!
One critical note for military and family members who suspect they have the flu: Before proceeding to the medical treatment facility (MTF) please call and ask for where to go, nurse triage, etc. To reduce the spread of the viruses to expecting mothers, small children, reduced immunity folks (cancer treatments) and others the facilities have established procedures to screen flu patients. Each facility is unique so be sure to call yours in advance!
The doctors described the flu vaccines as mandatory for military members and important for our families. The vaccine for seasonal flu is available and the H1N1 is being delivered on a priority basis. The news has reported shortages but the doctors described it as a slow production due to the difficulties of making the vaccine versus a reduced production. There will be enough vaccine but delivery is delayed.
Military priorities include the combat deployed forces, training/accession centers and medical personnel. The Department of Defense purchased 2.7 million vaccines (only shot is required per person) and Health Human Services is providing 1 million more. Military family members can get the vaccine at their local MTF when it is available. The shot is FREE everywhere and they encouraged military family members, retirees, etc not near an MTF to get their vaccines in the local community medical facilities. Oversees dependents are being cared for by their MTFs.
The doctors encouraged everyone to use primary care prevention such as hand washing, covering the mouth when sneezing or coughing, not going to work or school sick, etc. They said the H1N1 is unique because it started in April and has continued to spread through the summer where the seasonal flu starts in October and reaches its height around March. H1N1 has been recorded in every country of the world.
One last recommendation from the preventive health care doctors was to ASK QUESTIONS about treatment and the vaccine! It is a unique flu and the medical community is ready to help!
Want to read the transcript? http://www.defenselink.mil/Blog_files/Blog_assets/20091029_Shiau_transcript.pdf
** Photo credit to US Air Force Senior Airman Kasey Zickmund