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DoD and the Flu Vaccine

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2001 -- DoD's top doc got his flu shot Nov. 14 and quipped that he felt better already.

Dr. Bill Winkenwerder, the recently confirmed assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, urged everyone in the DoD family to get a flu shot this year.

Getting a flu shot is important for everybody to do every year, especially the elderly and people with chronic illness, Winkenwerder said. He noted these groups are more at risk of serious illness sometimes caused by the influenza virus.

He said DoD's supply of flu vaccine is "looking pretty good." He expects all military installations to have their supplies by late November. The department ordered 3 million doses this year, he said, "And we're hoping to use them all up."

Winkenwerder noted that the public generally thinks of flu as a mild disease, but in fact it can be serious. "About 20,000 people in the United States die every year of influenza," he said. "That's a bit of a frightening thought." The best way to counter that risk is to get a flu shot, he added.

"I'm a big believer in prevention and preventive health," he said. "Getting a flu shot is one of the very best and easiest ways to prevent illness."

[This would be great if it actually worked. Problem is this: Every single person we personally know of that actually received the flu shot has gotten the flu within the following two weeks. Am I missing something here? I.C.]

Related Site of Interest:
Centers for Disease Control Flu Season 2001-02 Website

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