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Col. J. G. Jolissaint, commander of the 18th Medical Command, says there is plenty of flu vaccine available for the U.S. military community in South Korea.
Col. J. G. Jolissaint, commander of the 18th Medical Command, says there is plenty of flu vaccine available for the U.S. military community in South Korea. (Teri Weaver / S&S)

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — This flu season may come with sniffles and aches, but it won’t necessarily come with shots.

This fall the 18th Medical Command will offer flu vaccines in two forms, shots and a nasal spray, according to Col. J.G. Jolissaint, the unit’s commander.

The dual supply of the two vaccines means there should be no concerns about inoculation stocks this flu season, Jolissaint said Thursday.

“We no longer have a problem with inventory,” he said. “The supply is there.”

In 2005, the medical command administered about 32,000 shots. This year, the supply likely will top 35,000, Jolissaint said.

No one was turned away last year, but the extra doses will allow even more people to receive the vaccine, he said.

Many doses this year will be Flumist, a nasal spray that involves no needles and is recommended for people 49 and younger, Jolissaint said.

Because that includes most of the U.S. Forces Korea community, the command will receive more doses of spray than the traditional injection, called Fluzone.

The Fluzone supply will be reserved for people with conditions that affect their immune system and people older than 50.

Most other servicemembers, dependents and other military employees will receive Flumist.

This month, soldiers assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division began their inoculations, Jolissaint said.

By mid-November, medical officials throughout the peninsula will begin offering the vaccine to all USFK personnel and families.

Jolissaint also hopes the spray dosage will convince more parents to bring in more children since a syringe is no longer a concern.

“Why would you choose a shot rather than a squirt up the nose?” he said.

The vaccine wards against contracting the conventional flu virus.

It would not protect against any outbreak of avian flu.

But medical officials recommend getting the flu vaccine as an added protection against avian flu in case the bird version mutates into a virus that can transfer between people.

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