Late Breaking News
Military Battles Flu Every Year to Ensure Troop Readiness Cont.
DoD follows CDC guidelines in recommending vaccination for everyone 6 months old and up.
DoD ordered more than 4 million doses of the flu vaccine for the upcoming season. This year, the vaccine arrived in early August, which is much earlier than in previous years, Stanek said.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Jonathan Woodson, MD, wrote in his guidance on the flu vaccine for this season that, unlike last year, most troops may now be immunized with either trivalent inactivated vaccines (TIV) or live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV.)
Both TIV and LAIV were available last year. Previously, troops younger than 50 years of age received LAIV. The change in policy “allows increased flexibility depending upon the type and quantity of vaccine available at the time the immunization is given,” according to the MHS.
“LAIV is approved for use in healthy people 2 to 49 years of age who are not pregnant. LAIV is more effective and highly recommended for healthy beneficiaries below 18 years of age to include eligible children and new-accession populations,” he wrote.
In addition, a policy remains in effect requiring all civilian healthcare personnel who provide direct patient care in MTFs to be immunized against seasonal influenza infection each year as a condition of employment, unless there is a documented medical or religious reason not to be immunized, he wrote.
The military’s attention to the flu has benefited not only troops, but also the general public. In April 2009, the Naval Health Research Center helped CDC identify the H1N1 virus by providing specimens with the new virus strain.
Stanek said DoD learned a great deal from the 2009 H1N1 experience.
“It was clear that DoD laboratories played a critical role during the H1N1 pandemic along with the state and CDC laboratories in characterizing the outbreak,” he said. “But we also learned that we needed to develop a laboratory surge capacity to handle the increased demand for laboratory tests during the pandemic, and many people did excellent work to make sure that was, in fact, developed.”
Another issue of concern to DoD and other federal agencies as the pandemic developed was whether there would be widespread absenteeism.
“Fortunately, that didn’t really develop, but it did demonstrate the importance that all organizations need to have a plan for continuity of operations, whether it involved teleworking or being able to operate with reduced staff,” he said.
Related Infectious Disease Articles
- TRICARE Faces Challenges in Getting Males to Complete Three-Shot HPV Vaccine Series
- Rabies Exposure Reports Skyrocket in Theater After Army Cracks Down on Pets
- Rates of Meningococcal Disease in Military Plummet
- Right Amount of Information Affects Vaccine Rates
- Flu Vaccines Equally Effective in Military Population
- Drug Approved to Boost Platelet Counts Could Increase VA HCV Treatment Rates
- Legionnaires' Disease Kills Patient at Pittsburgh VAMC
- Longer Treatment of Male UTI Doesn't Decrease Recurrence Rates
- HIV Patients Appear to Age More Rapidly; Researchers Want to Know Why That Is
- VA Seeks to Increase Low Hepatitis C Treatment Rate for HIV Positive Patients