PANEX kicks off flu shot season for 15th Wing

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Avery Larkin
  • 15th Wing Public Affairs

The 15th Wing held a pandemic response exercise Sept. 26-28, here, at Makai Recreation Center, to deliver flu shots and simulate response to an influenza outbreak.

Volunteers participated in the exercise Sept. 26 by simulating symptoms for 15th Medical Group personnel to diagnose while active duty service members completed their annual flu shot requirements.

According to Maj. Duke Dargush, 15th MDG wing inspection team chief, the exercise is grounded in executing mission requirements.

“The goal of the PANEX is to enable the mission. If a bad strain of influenza hit, it would take a month or two to get everyone vaccinated using normal procedures,” he said. “During that time, there would be drawbacks to our mission. Essentially, the PANEX allows us to get two months of work done in a few days.”

The Makai Recreation Center will be open for active duty service members to get their flu shots Sept. 26-27 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sept. 28 from 6 to 11 a.m.

“In a real world scenario, these sites would be operating 24 hours a day to get everyone through,” Dargush said. “Holding this exercise at this time of year allows us to knock out our operational requirements for flu shots and practice our readiness procedures.”

Service members who need their flu shot should visit the Makai Recreation Center to get vaccinated. Dependents and all other beneficiaries should plan to get flu shots at the 15th MDG immunizations clinic starting Oct. 2.

The 15th MDG also urges pregnant women who may be hesitant to get their flu shot to consider vaccination.

“Everyone over the age of six months should receive an annual influenza vaccination, including pregnant women during any trimester,” said Lt. Col. Katie Crowder, 15th MDG chief of medical staff. “The flu vaccine is not only safe, but highly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists due to the potential negative outcome of getting the flu while pregnant.”

In addition to the flu shot, the CDC recommends the following actions to avoid getting sick:

-- Wash your hands with soap and water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub when soap and water are not available.

-- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash after using it.

-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent the spread of germs.

-- When possible, avoid close contact with sick people.

-- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to avoid infecting them.