Health-care providers at Martin Army Community Hospital continue to urge Soldiers, retirees and family members to obtain both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines.
Those with highest priority for the vaccines continue to be pregnant women, children younger than 5, adults 65 and older, health-care workers and care givers of young children, as well as people who have health conditions that put them at higher risk of complications from influenza.
In an effort to bring additional visibility to the importance of vaccination, a team from the hospital’s Department of Preventive Medicine went into the community Jan. 26 and 27 and offered both vaccinations to military ID card holders. In all, the team provided 334 H1N1 and 205 seasonal flu vaccines.
“We didn’t expect the turnout we had, but it was very successful,” said 1LT Lakesha Williams, a registered nurse. “We’re still in flu season and we tend to have some of our highest numbers of (flu) cases in February. The H1N1 is new and we never know what this virus might do.”
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All MACH clinics have H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine on hand for those patients who still need to be immunized.
“We encourage people to get out and get the vaccines and protect themselves,” Williams said.
According to the Georgia Department of Community Health Web site, www.dch.georgia.gov, there were 21 hospitalizations of patients with H1N1 in Georgia between Jan. 20 and Jan. 26. Hardest hit were ages 25 to 49. Dr. Rhonda Meadows, commissioner of the GA DCH, provides regular podcasts with tips for Georgia residents.
Additional information about flu and vaccinations is available on the national influenza Web site, www.flu.gov.
Patients can get the latest information or make immunization appointments at MACH by calling 706-544-2273 (CARE) or online at www.tricareonline.com.
Flu prevention tip
-- Simple precautions everyone can take to prevent the spread of illness — covering mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, discarding used tissues and hand washing with soap and water or with hand sanitizer.