MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The arrival of the flu season is accompanied by hurried doctor visits and long lines, all to ensure that a person is vaccinated against a killer that claims more than a thousand lives every year.
For the past three years, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, has been offering flu vaccinations free of service, and this year it is no different.
“Every year, we offer Department of Defense personnel, Marine Corps Community Services employees, retired veterans and dependents of service members an opportunity to receive their flu shots for free,” said Glenda Aultowski, a community health nurse with Health Promotion and Wellness. “We move around a lot and try to set up in convenient places.”
The portable flu shot center has in the past set up shop at schools, education centers and any convenient places they could find, not just on Camp Lejeune, but Camp Johnson and Marine Corps Air Station New River as well.
“I first came to get my free shot last year and this year I read about it in the (Jacksonville) Daily News,” said Marlena Strawn, a military spouse who brought her two children to receive their vaccinations. “It’s great, I like their extended hours.”
Aultowski stated that all medical personnel first received their vaccination before moving on and offering their free service to others. This was done to try and protect people as much as possible.
“This year we set up our vaccination center in a few schools,” said Aultowski. “We then offered free shots on Saturdays to all the children and their families.”
The number of vaccinations from the portable vaccination shop were well over 14,000 people and this year more than 3,000 have been vaccinated against influenza.
Aultowski contacts schools and veteran communities as well to inform them about the location and time that her and her team, a group of Navy corpsmen who volunteered part of their days, will be available. The team also sets up a vaccination booth at health fairs.
Aultowski said that the time that the shots are available depend on the DoD. Service members are top priority and once they have received their shots, Aultowski and her team can move on to providing their service to everyone else.
“We keep Channel 10, the Jacksonville Daily News and the naval hospital’s website updated on times and locations that we will be available,” said Aultowski. “We will be providing our service well until the spring season, so it’s still not too late to get vaccinated.”
To check on upcoming influenza vaccination locations, visit www.med.navy.mil/sites/nhcl/Pages/default.aspx.