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Stick with it for Annual Flu and COVID-19 Booster Vax at Naval Hospital Bremerton - eGreenews
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Stick with it for Annual Flu and COVID-19 Booster Vax at Naval Hospital Bremerton


Just a little jab will do, with no appointment necessary.

Naval Hospital Bremerton will be providing annual influenza vaccinations to all those in need, as well as offering the new COVID bivalent booster.

There will be an annual shot exercise (SHOTEX) – for the mass influenza vaccination and COVID booster dose – held at Naval Base Kitsap Bangor Olympic Lanes bowling center [adjacent to the base recreational complex/fitness center], October 16-22, 2022, Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The annual influenza vaccination is required for all active duty military personnel, selected Reservists and healthcare workers.

The COVID bivalent booster is not a required vaccine, but is recommended by the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC).

In conjunction with CDC, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton public health and preventive medicine experts advocate the need for getting a flu shot for those six months and older, especially with the coronavirus still spreading and lingering.

The Flu vaccine and COVID bivalent booster will be available for all those in need and unable to be vaccinated during the SHOTEX with their primary care provider at NHB and branch health clinic(s) located on Naval Base Kitsap Bangor and Naval Station Everett. Both are also a covered benefit of TRICARE.

Additionally, for those desiring to receive their influenza and COVID bivalent booster vaccination in town, there are numerous outlets in the surrounding community that accept TRICARE. If receiving any shot in a civilian community outlet, NHB requests that everyone who does so also provide documentation of receipt to their medical staff, provider, or directly to NHB Immunizations clinic team to update a person’s medical record.

Active duty, selected Reserve, and healthcare workers must bring in documentation of influenza vaccination if they receive it from the civilian community.

The same experts also stress the need to add the COVID booster to help thwart any personal threat as well as stop the spread of the highly-contagious virus.

According to recent complied data from Kitsap County Public Health, there were 243 reported COVID cases and five deaths in the week ending September 25, 2022, an increase from 179 cases the previous week. There have been 48,752 cases and 389 deaths since the onset of the pandemic. In neighboring Mason County, there were 61 cases and two deaths last week with a reported 14,677 and 162 deaths overall. At this point in time, the vast majority of COVID cases are likely diagnosed at home and are not reported.

“The new COVID bivalent boosters from Pfizer and Moderna are formulated to boost your immunity against all prior COVID variants as well as the currently circulating Omicron variants, including the latest BA.4 and BA.5 variants,” explained Cmdr. Brian Legendre, Preventive Medicine officer and department head. “Like all prior vaccinations, they should greatly reduce your risk of hospitalization and death from a COVID infection, and these new formulations may reduce your chances of getting sick at all with the Omicron variants.”

According to Legendre, people eligible for the booster include those who has completed a primary series of a COVID vaccine – one to three doses depending on the recipient and the vaccine type – or who has received one or more booster doses after completing their primary series.

For those who wish to receive the COVID booster, it is recommended to bring their COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to annotate accordingly.

“As long as there will be at least two months between their last dose of COVID vaccine [primary series or booster] and a bivalent booster vaccine. The Pfizer bivalent booster is emergency use authorization approved for people ages 12 and up. The Moderna bivalent booster is EUA approved for people ages 18 and up,” noted Legendre, adding that the COVID bivalent booster may be given at the same time as other vaccines, including season influenza vaccine.

“If you are a young adult male who has received the JYNNEOS vaccine for monkeypox recently, you should wait four weeks between receiving that vaccine and a COVID bivalent booster dose,” Legendre said.

There are also similarities and differences in symptoms between COVID-19 and influenza.

Both are contagious respiratory illnesses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, with the more virulent Delta variant causing a lot more serious cases across the nation. The flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses, with local health authorities aware that with schools back in session after a year hiatus and people gathering in large numbers, there is the distinct possibility of the flu flourishing in such environments.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone.

Similarities: Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

• Fever or feeling feverish/chills

• Cough

• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

• Fatigue (tiredness)

• Sore throat

• Runny or stuffy nose

• Muscle pain or body aches

• Headache

• Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

Differences: Those stricken with COVID-19 also often note a lapse of taste and smell.

Another difference is that if a person has COVID-19, it could take them longer to develop symptoms than if they had flu. Typically, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary. With the flu, a person typically develops symptoms anywhere from one to four days after infection.

There’s also similarities and differences how both viruses spread.

Both viruses can be spread to others by people before they begin showing symptoms, or if they have only have mild symptoms or even if they never developed symptoms (asymptomatic).

The differences are that while COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. The virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.

Both COVID-19 and flu can result in complications, including pneumonia, respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (i.e. fluid in lungs).

According to Dr. Dan Frederick, NHB Population Health Officer, immunization remains the primary method of reducing seasonal influenza and COVID illness and associated complications. Being vaccinated against both viral threats not only helps protect vaccinated individuals, but also helps protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of the disease.

“Getting the flu shot helps protect someone once the flu season starts in their community. The vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to the illness,” Frederick said.

Frederick also emphasizes that just as it is important for military personnel who live and work in close quarters to receive the vaccine, it is also strongly advised for school-aged children.

“Influenza is not the common cold. It can be a life-threatening disease that especially can put specific groups in jeopardy,” explained Frederick. “While certainly people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are at increased risk, those over 65, young children, and pregnant women would be at the top of my list.”

All patients are also strongly recommended to continue to mask up to limit any potential exposure to any airborne virus, practice social distancing and other strategies such as frequent hand-washing and sanitizing.

Date Taken: 10.05.2022
Date Posted: 10.05.2022 16:39
Story ID: 430793
Location: BREMERTON, WA, US 

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