Back to Top Skip to main content

Sorry flu, not this year

U.S. Air Force Kathryn Klein, right, an aerospace medical service specialist with 182nd Medical Group, Illinois Air National Guard, administers an influenza vaccination during drill weekend at the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill., Dec. 8, 2019. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, and the best prevention is getting a flu vaccine each year. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Paul R. Helmig II) U.S. Air Force Kathryn Klein, right, an aerospace medical service specialist with 182nd Medical Group, Illinois Air National Guard, administers an influenza vaccination during drill weekend at the 182nd Airlift Wing in Peoria, Ill., Dec. 8, 2019. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses, and the best prevention is getting a flu vaccine each year. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Airman Paul R. Helmig II)

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Health Readiness | Influenza Summary and Reports | Influenza, Northern Hemisphere | Seasonal Influenza Resource Center 2020-21

Even with the scare of a highly contagious virus spreading each year, U.S. service members and beneficiaries can feel relieved this flu season.

Through a complex and heavily coordinated global effort, the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Medical supply chain teamed with Department of Defense partners to provide 3.4 million doses of the influenza vaccine to service members, dependents and retirees.

“Everybody knows preventing the flu and getting our service members vaccinated is so important every year,” said Jenna Wesolowski, a Medical contracting officer. “The dedication of everyone involved just shows and makes the program so successful because we try our hardest to get everybody vaccinated.”

The DLA Troop Support Medical team worked alongside the Defense Health Agency, DLA Distribution and military service medical logistics personnel through a yearlong effort supporting the DOD’s 2019-2020 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program and its goal to vaccinate 90 percent of all service members by Jan. 15.

“My dad was a Marine, so I think of him being out in the field and I wouldn’t want him getting sick with the flu … that's why I love this job,” Wesolowski explained. “I just think it's so important to dedicate yourself to the warfighter because they’re the people protecting us. This program has always been super important to me.”

Flu season most commonly occurs during the fall and winter months, historically peaking from December through February. The season can sometimes last all the way until May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to DHA, the 2019-2020 flu season was successful in meeting its service member vaccination goal thanks to the communication and dedication of the agencies involved.

“The relationship between DLA, DHA-Immunization Healthcare Division and the services is instrumental to a successful program,” said Tara Reavey, DHA-IHD’s Policy and Program Management section chief. “New challenges impact each flu vaccination season and DHA-IHD, DLA and the services work very hard to minimize the impact of these challenges and to serve all customers in a timely manner.”

The Medical supply chain acquires the vaccines, ensures the manufacturer delivers the vaccines to the DLA Distribution warehouse on time and then coordinates deliveries to military treatment facilities and the Navy fleet around the globe.

Wesolowski and her teammates begin the contracting aspect of the program about a year out from flu season in January. As the season approaches, they work with the vendor on contractual obligations and monitor the program’s status until all the vaccines are delivered to Distribution’s warehouses, usually by the end of fall.

“We constantly communicate with the vendor for status and delivery updates,” Wesolowski said. “Then we relay that message to the customers and Distribution. That communication helps us overcome any hiccups, and I think that everybody did a good job getting the services vaccinated [this season].”

As the vaccines are delivered to the warehouse, Wesolowski and her teammates begin handing the program responsibilities off to another Medical team.

“When the services tell us what they want shipped, that's when our part kicks in,” explained Dana Dallas, the head of Medical’s cold chain management team. “It's our job to get the vaccines released from the warehouse and work with Distribution to make sure they get shipped correctly. We’ll [also] work with the carriers to make sure they deliver on time.”

Dallas and her teammates coordinate the vaccine delivery through a schedule agreed upon by the services at the beginning of flu season.

Military service medical logistics organizations, such as U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency Distribution Operations Center, Naval Medical Logistics Command and Air Force Medical Readiness Agency, let the supply chain know when customers need vaccines, and upon receipt of the request, Medical coordinates with Distribution for delivery, Dallas said.

However, Dallas added, the challenge is overcoming the cold chain management obstacles such as temperature sensitivity, shelf life considerations and weather interruptions.

These challenges makes the delivery process more complicated when delivering to overseas locations, like Navy vessels that are constantly moving at sea or military treatment facilities located in remote locations with limited accessibility.

Using a Navy vessel as an example, Dallas says there are many variables to consider for delivery.

“I have to find them and find out how long they’re going to be at a certain location,” Dallas explained. “Are they somewhere I can deliver to, and if not, what's their next location? Do I need to go through a cross-dock location because I cannot get to theirs directly? Do I have to use military airlift because the commercial carriers can't get to the island or do I have to float it to them?”

Dallas said this year brought some challenges, but communication helped the organizations overcome them.

And even though the program cannot avoid all the barricades to a successful delivery, the partnership and commitment to the mission between the DLA organizations is what helps keep the military healthy during flu season.

“The mutual respect, trust and understanding of mission requirements that Distribution and Troop Support has built and relies on over the years allows a streamlined communication process that serves for better coordination and faster execution in meeting customer demand,” said Robert Garrettson, the DLA Distribution Shelf Life Special Commodities team lead. “This year’s program has been very successful because of the strong partnerships between all stakeholders.”

You also may be interested in...

Brooke AMC stands up new Strategic Trauma Readiness Center

Article
5/26/2020
Three surgeons discussing a patient on an operating table

What makes STaRC truly unique is its comprehensive assessment plan

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Influenza Infection and Influenza Vaccine

Fact Sheet
5/18/2020

The purpose of this information paper is to describe influenza disease and supporting vaccines to prevent its spread.

Recommended Content:

Influenza, Northern Hemisphere

MMQC-20-1172 Disposition Instructions for 2019-2020 Influenza Virus Vaccine

Publication
5/14/2020

The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency Distribution Operations Center (USAMMA DOC) provides disposition guidance on the expired/expiring 2019-2020 influenza vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Influenza, Northern Hemisphere

Influenza Off-Site Vaccination Clinic Supply Checklist

Publication
5/12/2020

A checklist of suggested supplies for an off-site influenza clinic.

Recommended Content:

Influenza, Northern Hemisphere

Pediatric Influenza 2nd Dose Reminder Cards

Publication
5/12/2020

A pre-designed reminder card for parents whose children are being immunized against influenza for the first time, thus requiring two doses of vaccine separated by at least 28 days.

Recommended Content:

Influenza, Northern Hemisphere

CDC maintains childhood immunization guidelines during COVID-19

Article
5/1/2020
A child receives a vaccine during a visit to the clinic.

What you need to know about getting your child vaccinated

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Month of the Military Child

Immunization Tool Kit 9th Edition

Publication
4/30/2020

A practical reference that facilitates and enhances the global delivery of quality immunization healthcare to Department of Defense (DoD) beneficiaries and employees. The Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division (DHA-IHD) publishes the Immunization Tool Kit based on national recommendations, evidenced-based, peer-reviewed published medical literature, and clinical practice guidelines.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare

Amid COVID-19, seasonal influenza still a threat to force readiness

Article
4/29/2020
Hospital Corpsman administers a flu shot to a navy officer.

New Southern Hemisphere flu vaccine available May 2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Influenza Summary and Reports | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Influenza, Southern Hemisphere

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 4 - April 2020

Report
4/22/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Commentary: The Warrior Heat- and Exertion-Related Event Collaborative and the Fort Benning Heat Center; Update: Heat illness, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2019; Update: Exertional rhabdomyolysis, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015–2019; Update: Exertional hyponatremia, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2004–2019

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

FDA withdrawal of Zantac affects military health beneficiaries

Article
4/15/2020
Image of pharmacist counting out medication

Common heartburn drug pulled off shelves amid concerns

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Military medical training continues during COVID-19

Article
4/14/2020
Students and instructors in the METC Respiratory Therapist program practice safe distancing and wear face coverings while training with mechanical ventilators. (Photo by Oscar Lopez)

METC’s mission - to train the world's finest medics, corpsmen and technicians - is vital to force readiness and the nation.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 4 - APR 2020

Report
4/2/2020

As of 1 APR, 186,101 total confirmed COVID-19 cases (3,603 deaths) have been reported in all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Current hot spots include NY, NJ, LA, CA, GA, FL, SC, and Guam. Confirmed COVID-19 cases are rapidly accelerating in the U.S., an increase expected due to amplified testing capacity and ongoing community spread. As of 1 APR, CDC is reporting widespread transmission of COVID-19 in 25 (+12) U.S. states and Guam.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 27 No. 3 - March 2020

Report
3/30/2020

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Update: Sexually transmitted infections, active component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2011–2019; Incidence of sexually transmitted infections before and after insertion of an intrauterine device or contraceptive implant, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2014–2019; Blood lead level surveillance among pediatric beneficiaries in the Military Health System, 2010–2017

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health

DHA IPM 20-002: Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccination Program. All Active Duty, Selected Reserve, and National Guard members receive an annual influenza vaccination. Personnel who are traveling to, conducting a permanent change of station to, or are located in the Southern Hemisphere will receive the Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine or obtain an exemption (e.g., medical or administrative) in accordance with guidance in paragraph 6.a. of Attachment 2. Military personnel residing in the Southern Hemisphere who have received the Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine in accordance with Appendix 1, meet the annual influenza immunization requirement.

TCCC prepares Airmen for domestic response

Article
3/9/2020
PATRIOT South 2020 participants complete two-day Tactical Combat Casualty Care training course during PATRIOT South 20 at Gulfport Combat Readiness Training Center. PATRIOT South 20 is an annual, accredited Joint National Training Capability exercise that provides a simulated natural disaster environment for units to test their response and capabilities to conduct domestic operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Wendy Kuhn)

TCCC is not only applicable in combat casualty care, but also in mass casualty, disaster response or terrorist situations as well

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 42

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.