Taking a shot at prevention

  • Published
  • By Brian Shreve
  • Robins Public Affairs
Like most people, Team Robins members don't want to get influenza - and the high number of base-wide vaccination efforts prove it.  

In conjunction with the 78th Air Base Wing's objective of maximizing the number of civilian employees getting flu shots, more onsite vaccinations have been provided at various base locations. 

As of Oct. 20, the campaign - which kicked off the end of September - had nearly met its goal of 764 civilian vaccinations.

In fact, 746 flu shots were administered in the first six days, a surge that surpassed last year's count of 509, according to the Houston County Health Department. 

A revised goal of 1,018 shots - a 200-percent increase from last year - was set as lines continued to form this week. No additional vaccination lines are scheduled, but the 78th Medical Group will continue to provide shots at the clinic until they run out.  

As for uniformed personnel installation-wide, 78.1 percent of uniformed personnel had been vaccinated going into the final week of October, which was down from 87 percent in 2013.  

Robins service members were initially given 30 days to get vaccinated, though a hard deadline is set for Dec. 31, said Capt. Melissa Peters, 78th Aerospace Medicine Squadron public operations chief.

"There are always a few stragglers here and there, but 78 percent isn't bad for a base this size," she said.

Peters said even people who typically avoid the flu need to be cautious due to different strains of the virus emerging every season. It's important to get the shot early because it takes roughly two weeks to obtain immunity, she added.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 20 percent of Americans contract the flu each year and more than 200,000 are hospitalized with flu-related complications.

"We want as much of the population immunized as possible because it's not only about individual health, but about preventing others from getting sick," said Peters.  "We have to think about people who have a higher risk of infection, such as children, the elderly and pregnant women. We have to protect each other."

Want to protect yourself? The last onsite event is today at the Exchange from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for both civilian and active duty personnel.