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Seasonal flu vaccinations underway at DM, H1N1 due in November

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Eric Petosky
  • 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Public Affairs
Airmen here began receiving seasonal flu vaccinations this week, and other TRICARE beneficiaries will be eligible to receive seasonal flu vaccinations when the active-duty inoculations are complete. 

Beneficiaries should be eligible to receive their seasonal flu shot in three or four weeks, said Master Sgt. Brian McComb, 355th Medical Group immunizations flight chief. Base-wide announcements will be made once the vaccine is available to those beneficiaries. 

Seasonal flu requires a different vaccine than H1N1 "Swine" Flu, according to Col. (Dr) David Geyer, Twelfth Air Force (Air Forces Southern) Command Surgeon. The H1N1 vaccines are expected to arrive in early November. 

The first disbursement of H1N1 vaccines by the Department of Defense will be distributed to mission-specific active-duty Airmen, guardsmen, and reservists according to mission priority. The three groups are: 

Group 1 - Deployed forces, ships afloat, high-risk health care providers and people at training sites such as basic military training and undergraduate pilot training. 

Group 2 - Mission-essential and mission-critical personnel. 

Group 3 - All other military personnel. 

After Airmen receive the H1N1 vaccine, other TRICARE beneficiaries may receive the vaccine at the 355th MDG. However, those wishing to get inoculated as soon as possible may visit a Pima County Health Department inoculation center to receive their shots. Until more vaccine is distributed through State and Federal channels, only citizens falling into specific categories may receive the H1N1 vaccination. People who do not fall into these categories will not receive the vaccination. 

The categories include: 

-- Healthy children and young people age 2 through 24 

-- Health care workers under age 50 

-- Adults under age 50 caring for infants under 6 months old 

The nasal mist version of the H1N1 vaccine is the only one available at the moment. It is a live viral vaccine, and it is not recommended for use by pregnant women, those suffering from chronic medical conditions, or those who are immune-compromised. H1N1 vaccinations delivered through Pima County are free. For a schedule of vaccination locations from Pima County, visit

Symptoms of H1N1 include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people experience diarrhea and/or vomiting. 

Healthcare professionals offer the following advice: 

-- Do not panic. Most cases of H1N1 are mild and resolve on their own with time. 

-- Stay home and avoid contact with people as much as possible. Don't leave home except to seek medical care. 

-- For children, report to the nearest emergency room if the following symptoms appear: fast breathing or trouble breathing, bluish or grey skin color, not drinking enough fluids, sever or persistent vomiting, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough. 

-- For adults, report to the nearest emergency room if the following symptoms appear: difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, dizziness when standing, confusion, sever or persistent vomiting, or flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough. 

To limit operational impact from influenza-like illnesses, limit the spread of influenza, and ensure access to medical appointments for those with potentially serious complications, commanders and supervisors have the authority to allow military members to go home and remain there for up to 24 hours. This does not require the military member be placed on quarters. 

For symptoms persisting beyond 24 hours, members should call 228-2778 for an over-the-phone evaluation by a registered nurse. At that point, the member can be placed on up to 72-hour quarters without having to return to their duty station. Appointments may be necessary, depending on the severity of symptoms. 

For more information on H1N1, visit:
-- The Center for Disease Control Web site
-- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site for flu 
-- The DOD Web site 
-- The Air Force H1N1 Web site 
-- Pima County Health Department