Dates for USFK civilians’ H1N1 shots in limbo
Stars and Stripes November 14, 2009
SEOUL — Most U.S. Forces Korea civilians will have to wait to get H1N1 immunizations because final shipments of the vaccine have not arrived in South Korea, according to health officials.
Active-duty servicemembers and people in high-risk categories, however, can continue to receive the vaccine
The 65th Medical Brigade has received 32,000 of its allotted 44,000 doses, but officials don’t know when the remaining doses will arrive, according to a memo being given to patients at Brian Allgood Community Hospital. The memo suggested but did not explicitly state that the doses would arrive after Nov. 25.
Medical officials at U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan were unavailable for comment on Thursday.
Capt. Gwendolyn Boleware, a public health officer at Osan Air Base, said vaccines for most dependents were expected to arrive at Osan in late November or early December.
About 93 percent of active-duty personnel at Osan have been vaccinated, she said.
A spokesman at Kunsan Air Base, which has no command-sponsored troops and few civilian workers, said 95 percent of those required to get the vaccine have received it.
The temporary halt on civilian vaccines at Army bases began on Tuesday. Until remaining shipments arrive, only civilians in high-risk categories will be able to receive the vaccine. High-risk patients include pregnant women, anyone between 6 months and 24 years old, those with chronic medical conditions, health care workers and child care workers who care for children younger than 6 months.
USFK said last week that it wanted all servicemembers and civilians to receive the vaccination by Thanksgiving. Most U.S. Army bases opened a special clinic on Sunday and set extended weekday hours to meet the demand for the vaccine, with an emphasis on giving first vaccinations to children and others in greatest danger of complications from the virus.
Once the remaining doses arrive, civilians eligible for vaccinations include family members of active-duty troops, retirees, Department of Defense emergency-essential civilians and mission-essential civilians, the 65th Medical Brigade memo said. Emergency-essential and mission-essential civilians must bring proof of their status to receive the vaccine.