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MDG extends flu vaccine availability

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The 2008/2009 influenza vaccine is now available to all beneficiaries on a walk-in basis in the 30th Medical Group immunization clinic here.

Influenza, which is commonly called the flu, is a highly contagious disease. It is caused by the influenza virus, which can be spread by coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions. Other illnesses can have the same symptoms and are often mistaken for influenza. But only an illness caused by the influenza virus is really influenza. Anyone can get influenza, but rates of infection are highest among children.

Flu symptoms typically last for only a few days. Symptoms may include fever, cough, sore throat, headaches, chills, muscle aches or fatigue. Children with the flu may experience high fever, diarrhea and seizures. Influenza can lead to pneumonia, which is particularly dangerous for people with heart or breathing conditions. Seasonal influenza epidemics occur annually in the United States. Estimates of influenza-related events include 95 million infections, 25 million physician visits, 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths annually in the United States.

Influenza can occur any time from November through May, but it most often peaks in January or February. Most people need one dose of influenza vaccine each year. Children younger than 9 years old getting influenza vaccine for the first time - or who got the influenza vaccine for the first time last season, but got only one dose - should get two doses at least four weeks apart to be protected.

For more information, call the immunization clinic at 606-8474. The immunization clinic hours are below. 

Monday: 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. 
Tuesday: 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m. 
Wednesday: 7:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Thursday: 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 3 p.m. 
Friday: 7:30 - 11:30 a.m. and 1 - 4 p.m.