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Airmen need annual Flu shots

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- Members of the SCANG need to get immunized against the flu to maintain their readiness, say Wing leadership.

"The annual flu shot is a requirement, and the National Guard leadership looks at immunizations for the Wing," said Col. David Meyer, commander of the 169th Fighter Wing. "To stay ready everyone needs to be current on their immunizations, including the flu."

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said flu season begins Sept. 28 in South Carolina, and the best way to protect against the flu is get immunized. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention recommends people get vaccinated against flu soon after vaccine becomes available, preferably by October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

"It's not only important for our Airmen to get their flu shots to stay ready to deploy, but it's important their families get immunized to protect everyone," said Capt. Brian Walsh, OIC of Immunizations.

Walsh said if anyone gets a flu shot at their civilian job, pharmacy, health department, or at their doctor they need to bring in documentation to the 169th Medical Group with the vaccine name, date received, and the lot number of the vaccine.

The 169th MDG will offer the flu shot during the monthly UTA weekends for traditional and full-time members.  The vaccine will not be available during the week for full-time members unless otherwise notified.

To help protect against the flu, it's important to remember to wash hands regularly, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available, and avoiding others who are sick. Remember to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.

For more information about the flu, please visit www.flu.gov  or http://www.cdc.gov/flu.