USA: NHCL Kicks Off Vaccination Campaign
Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune (NHCL) kicked off the 2011-2012 Seasonal Influenza (flu) Vaccination Campaign, Sept. 12, with the goal of achieving 100 percent Navy and Marine Corps force readiness aboard the largest Marine Corps installation on the East Coast, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.
According to NAVADMIN 201/11, more than 25 million reported cases of influenza occur in the United States each year. This includes about 150,000 hospitalizations and 24,000 deaths.
The Navy and Marine Corps set aggressive 2011-2012 influenza campaign vaccination and reporting policies in NAVADMIN 201/11 and MARADMIN 515/11. The two policies outline the groups who are required and recommended to receive the vaccine as well as the expectations for compliance. The most notable policy standard is the requirement for commands to administer the vaccine to 90 percent of active duty and Reserve Sailors and Marines by December of this year, and provide 100 percent accessibility to the vaccine by Navy and Marine Corps family members, TRICARE beneficiaries and DoD civilians.
“Since we received all of the vaccine early this year, we are able to make it available to active duty and reserve component Sailors and Marines stationed at the base and air station as well as all other beneficiaries simultaneously,” said NHCL’s Director of Public Health Glenee Smith. “NHCL officially kicked off the Influenza campaign by having the vaccine administered to the commanding officer of the Naval Hospital and the commanding officer of Camp Lejeune. Starting Thursday through Saturday, beneficiaries will have their first opportunity to receive the vaccine at the Commissary Truck Sale.”
Smith continued to explain how NHCL planned a carefully coordinated vaccination campaign that will ensure 100 percent accessibility to the vaccine. The campaign incorporates several influenza vaccination opportunities that bring the vaccine to locations convenient to the military community. Locations include the commissary parking lot, the Marine Corps Exchange, several DoD schools, an upcoming Military Retiree Appreciation Day and the naval hospital.
“At each event, health care personnel will be on-site to screen individuals and ensure no health conditions exist that may cause complications after receiving the vaccination,” said Lt. Cmdr. Crystal Dailey, head of NHCL’s preventive medicine department. “We also made health care personnel available to administer the vaccine and to monitor the individual after receiving the vaccine.”
NHCL preventive health experts agree that receiving the flu vaccine is the most important way for an individual to reduce his or her risk of flu and its spread of infection to others. NHCL staff at the immunization clinic and within the directorate of public health have taken proactive steps throughout the year to educate beneficiaries on the importance of receiving the vaccine and the potential adverse health effects the flu can cause on an individual.
“It is crucial to understand that although research suggests flu season begins in October, individuals can contract the flu at any time,” said Dailey. “For every flu-related death, the flu sickens three times as many individuals, and can easily be prevented by education and vaccination.”
Smith and Dailey lauded the team effort to provide literature, educational seminars, vaccination campaign materials, a vaccination information hotline for beneficiaries to call and information to beneficiaries via social media outlets, to ensure that not only is the hospital within policy compliance, but more importantly, that the local military community stays healthy.
“Not only do we protect ourselves from getting the flu when we get the vaccine, we are protecting our community,” stated Dailey. “And for those of us in the military, we are ensuring our ability to achieve our mission at hand.”
Source: navy, September 14, 2011;