Friday, October 08, 2004

Flu shots

Every year the Coast Guard hands out flu shots to Coasties -- active duty and reserve -- and civilians. It's a come one, come all time. Let's all get inoculated so we don't get sick.

As you know, the flu vaccine is in short supply, and I think it's the start of a pretty good novel or movie where the end of the world comes near.

And then, I read this happy bit from my employer... guess I'm not getting that flu shot, for sure.

R 081920Z OCT 04
FM COMDT COGARD WASHINGTON DC//G-WK//
TO ALCOAST
BT
UNCLAS //N06230//
ALCOAST 457/04
COMDTNOTE 6230
SUBJ: INFLUENZA VACCINE IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM FOR 2004-2005
1. THIS ALCOAST ANNOUNCES SPECIFIC GUIDANCE FOR THE 2004-2005 INFLUENZA VACCINE IMMUNIZATION PROGRAM BASED ON RECENTLY ANNOUNCED VACCINE SHORTAGES NATIONWIDE.
2. ON OCTOBER 5, 2004, THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE (DOD) ANNOUNCED IT WILL NOT RECEIVE THE EXPECTED DOSES OF INFLUENZA VACCINE FROM ONE OF TWO SUPPLIERS. THE COAST GUARD RECEIVES ITS VACCINE SUPPLY FROM DOD AND ORIGINALLY EXPECTED 55,000 DOSES. THE CURRENT ESTIMATE IS THAT WE WILL RECEIVE ONLY 14,000 DOSES.
3. DUE TO THIS UNANTICIPATED SHORTAGE, COAST GUARD HEALTH CARE FACILITIES WILL PROVIDE THE INFLUENZA VACCINE BASED ON THE FOLLOWING PRIORITIES:
A. MANDATORY IMMUNIZATION FOR ALL CRITICAL COAST GUARD OPERATIONAL FORCES DEFINED AS: MEMBERS ON ACTIVE DUTY FOR 30 DAYS OR MORE AND DIRECTLY ASSIGNED TO CUTTERS, SMALL BOAT STATIONS, MARINE SAFETY AND SECURITY TEAMS, SECURITY RESPONSE TEAMS, PORT SECURITY UNITS, TACLETS, LEDETS, STRIKE TEAMS, AIR STATION PERSONNEL ON FLIGHT
STATUS, AND ALL PERSONNEL ON ORDERS FOR OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM DEPLOYMENT.
B. COAST GUARD HEALTH CARE WORKERS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN PATIENT CARE.
C. TRAINEE POPULATION AT TRAINING CENTER CAPE MAY DUE TO THE DENSELY POPULATED BERTHING AREAS WHICH CONTRIBUTES TO THE SPREAD OF INFLUENZA.
D. MILITARY BENEFICIARIES ROUTINELY SEEN AT COAST GUARD HEALTH CARE FACILITIES THAT MEET ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING NATIONAL CRITERIA, AS ESTABLISHED BY THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR IMMUNIZATION PRACTICES (ACIP) UNDER THE CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC):
(1) ALL CHILDREN OF AGE 6 TO 23 MONTHS.
(2) ADULTS OF AGE 65 YEARS OR OLDER.
(3) PERSONS OF AGE 2 TO 64 YEARS WITH UNDERLYING CHRONIC MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
(4) ALL WOMEN WHO ARE OR BECOME PREGNANT DURING THE INFLUENZA SEASON, GENERALLY FROM OCTOBER TO MARCH EACH YEAR.
(5) CHILDREN OF AGE 6 MONTHS TO 18 YEARS ON CHRONIC ASPIRIN THERAPY.
(6) FAMILY CHILDCARE PROVIDERS AND HOUSEHOLD CONTACTS OF CHILDREN YOUNGER THAN 6 MONTHS OF AGE.
4. UNFORTUNATELY, THE COAST GUARD WILL NOT BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE INFLUENZA VACCINE TO ANY OTHER MILITARY MEMBERS, BENEFICIARIES (INCLUDING THOSE WITH THE ABOVE CRITERIA BUT NOT ROUTINELY CARED FOR IN OUR FACILITIES) AND CG CIVILIAN WORKERS (UNLESS MEETING THE ABOVE CRITERIA).
5. ALL EXCESS VACCINE AVAILABLE AFTER IMMUNIZATION OF PRIORITY PERSONNEL SHALL BE MAINTAINED AND REPORTED TO THE MLC(K)S FOR INTERNAL CG DISTRIBUTION TO LOCATIONS IN NEED OF SUPPLY TO IMMUNIZE OTHER PRIORITY PERSONNEL AS LISTED IN PARAGRAPH 3.
6. EFFORTS TO AVOID TRANSMISSION OF INFLUENZA VIRUS SHOULD BE MADE THROUGH THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:
A. AVOID CLOSE CONTACT WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK. IF YOU ARE SICK, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE FROM OTHERS TO PROTECT THEM FROM GETTING SICK TOO.
B. COVER YOUR MOUTH AND NOSE WITH A TISSUE WHEN COUGHING OR SNEEZING TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF GERMS TO OTHERS.
C. WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN TO HELP PROTECT YOURSELF FROM GERMS AND KEEP YOURSELF FROM SPREADING GERMS ELSEWHERE.
D. AVOID TOUCHING YOUR EYES, NOSE OR MOUTH TO LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE. GERMS ARE OFTEN SPREAD WHEN A PERSON TOUCHES SOMETHING THAT IS CONTAMINATED WITH GERMS AND THEN TOUCHES HIS OR HER EYES, NOSE, OR MOUTH.
7. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON INFLUENZA AND PREVENTIVE MEASURES GO TO WWW.CDC.GOV/FLU/.
8. POINTS OF CONTACT: AT MLCA(K), CDR PATRICK MARSHALL AT 757-628-4338; AT MLCP(K), CDR PAUL HUNTZINGER AT 510-637-1237; AND AT HQ, CDR MARY FONG AT 202-267-0694.
9. INTERNET RELEASE AUTHORIZED.
10. RADM PAUL HIGGINS, DIRECTOR, HEALTH AND SAFETY, SENDS
BT
NNNN
Damn, I hope I don't get sick. I hate having the flu. I'll spend the whole time in bed thinking I'm dying from some terrorist's biological attack.

And if your mind doesn't start thinking the same thing, then you certainly haven't been paying attention to all the possible terrorist scenarios. Scenario #1: Terrorists infiltrate the factory where the vaccines are made, causing all the vaccines to be unfit for human use. Then, they beef up the flu virus and set it loose, the world not having seen such an epidemic since 1912. Oh, yeh, I can see it now.

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