Soldiers get mass swine flu shots before holidays
By SUSANNE M. SCHAFER
4 hours ago
FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Thousands of Army recruits in training must
line up at least once more before heading home for the holidays, this
time for mass inoculations by the hundreds against swine flu.
Army's largest training camp, just outside Columbia, S.C., and other
posts are hurrying to finish the shots before the year-end break. More
than 40,000 soldiers in advanced and basic training across the country
head home over the next two weeks in a massive troop movement known as
"block leave," Army officials said.
"We have been very aggressive
in trying to assure the safety of our soldiers," said Maj. Soo Hee
Kim-Delio, the Army physician in charge of the inoculations at Fort
Jackson. "Our basic training population is at particularly high risk."
flu, also known as 2009 H1N1, has proved to be similar to seasonal flu
but a bigger threat to children and young adults. Many of the trainees
are in their late teens and early 20s.
The soldiers are also
vulnerable because of the physical stress of basic training and from
living at close quarters with hundreds of other recruits, Kim-Delio
said. When they return home, they may rub shoulders with a host of
relatives or be around children fresh from exposure at school.
Jackson recorded the Army's first death from complications of swine flu
when Spc. Christopher Hogg of Deltona, Fla., died Sept. 10 from
pneumonia due to H1N1 influenza, authorities said.
started the shots about two weeks ago and expects to vaccinate as many
as 9,000 soldiers by the end of this week and another 2,000 by the
middle of next week. The trainers who remain on post, the Army's
medical work force, family members, pregnant women and those with
certain medical conditions such as asthma also will get the shots for a
total of about 15,000 doses, Kim-Delio said.
Department of Defense purchased 2.7 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine,
which it is trying to deliver to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines
around the globe before the end of the year, department spokesman Col.
Wayne Hachey said.
At Fort Knox, Ky., home of the Army's Armor
School, about 13,000 soldiers have been vaccinated for the swine flu,
but the post won't get another shipment of doses until January. Capt.
Franklin Hogue, who is in charge of the flu program there, said they
have vaccinated approximately 70 percent of their troops.
Army's sprawling Fort Campbell, on the Kentucky-Tennessee line, over
7,000 soldiers have been vaccinated, according to Laura Boyd, a
spokeswoman for Blanchfield Army Community Hospital. Another 5,000
doses have been given to families, retirees, schoolchildren and others
in the community.
Flu shots are mandatory for all active duty men
and women unless they have a medical condition such as an egg allergy,
"It's just one more shot in a long list of
shots," Staff Sgt. David Gavula said after rolling up his sleeve for a
swine flu shot at this post's vaccination clinic.
North Kingstown, R.I., also got a seasonal flu shot several months ago.
But if left to his own devices, "I probably wouldn't bother to do it,"
the 26-year-old infantry soldier said with a shrug.
Associated Press Writers Pauline Jelinek in Washington, D.C. and
Kristin M. Hall in Nashville, Tenn., contributed to this report.
(I would have thought that DOD would have had this group vaccinated first.....in it's entirety.....
If Fort Jackson is largest training camp...and someone died there 3 months ago???? why not protect all these potential "typhoid marvins..&marys"
sideline question:Has our President and his family yet received their 2009 H1N1 vaccine? Are they choosing to be vaccinated? anyone know!
The news has said no....(haven;t received)....then a news source(aol) seemingly rewrote the "no" into a yes.....When, I believe......it's still a no?