ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
With the flu season nearing, Robins is partnering with the Houston County Health Department to offer federal civilian employees the opportunity to protect themselves from the virus without leaving the base.
Robins’ Occupational Medicine Services is partnering with the Houston County Health Department to provide flu vaccines to federal employees, approximately two days per week Sept. 18 - Nov. 1.
In addition, Robins will offer the flu shot in the base’s Fitness Center Oct. 12 during the 9th Annual Triple Ribbon Day.
Nina Courchesne, a registered nurse in Robins’ OMS, said federal civilian employees should pay attention to posted flyers and signs, as well as the Splash page and Facebook, to learn about where and when to receive the flu vaccine.
“We’re coordinating with unit Voluntary Protection Program representatives to administer the flu vaccine in several different worksites,” she said. “We’re also hoping to utilize the base restaurant during lunch hours (11-1230), as well as the Fitness Annex in Bldg. 301 (dates to be determined).”
Courchesne said by providing Robins employees the opportunity to get vaccinated at work, it can reduce absenteeism, provide herd immunity, and lead to a healthier workforce.
The Houston County Health Department, located at 98 Cohen Walker Dr. in Warner Robins, accepts most federal insurances without a co-pay. However, if the insurance is not accepted, then the vaccine will cost roughly $25. The Health Department is not able to bill Tricare, so Tricare beneficiaries should consult Tricare to determine where and when they can receive their flu shots.
The 78th Medical Group Immunizations Clinic will be providing influenza vaccinations to all Tricare beneficiaries (retirees/dependents/federal government civilians that are Tricare eligible) after servicing those who have priority (Active Duty/High risk patients). To check the status of the influenza vaccines through the Immunizations Clinic please call 478-327-7921.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recommends everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine. Children younger than 5, adults older than 65, and pregnant women are among groups of individuals at high risk for develop flu-related complications.
Individuals with chronic medical conditions are also at high-risk of developing complications from the flu and should be vaccinated. These high-risk conditions include, but are not limited, to: asthma, chronic lung disease, heart disease diabetes, kidney or liver disorders, people with weakened immune systems such as those with HIV, cancer or those on chronic steroids, people younger than 19 years old on long-term aspirin therapy and people with extreme obesity with a BMI over 40.
Christina Sikes, Houston County Health Department’s nurse manager, said the flu vaccine is generally very effective against the flu.
“In many cases, the flu vaccine will prevent someone from getting the flu altogether,” she said. “Having a flu vaccination does not guarantee that a person will not get the flu. The vaccine can reduce the time period a person is sick and reduce the chances of severe complications and death that can occur as a result of getting the flu.
“Since strains or types of flu change throughout the year, flu vaccine is produced to be the best match possible to protect against the most common types of flu. However, if the type (strain) of flu changes, the vaccine may not be as effective as anticipated,” Sikes said.
The flu mist wasn’t found very effective, and was not recommended the past two flu seasons. However, as recent as June 8, 2018, a CDC report provided a recommendation for a live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV4), or the nasal mist. The Houston County Health Department will NOT be offering it, however.
Questions or comments can be submitted through the Houston County Health Department’s website at NCHD52.org/Contact-Us or via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
For more information on flu vaccines, call the Houston County Health Department at 478--218-2000 or visit the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov.