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...

Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Video
9/30/2019
Measles Myths: The Measles Can Be Life-Threatening

Measles can be life-threatening, especially for children and among people who have a compromised immune system.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Video
9/23/2019
Measles Myths: Hand Washing Alone Won't Prevent Measles

Hand washing alone will not prevent the spread of measles. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Video
9/17/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Are Safe

Vaccine components have been rigorously tested for safety. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella

Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Video
9/12/2019
Measles Myths: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Vaccines that prevent measles do not cause autism. Dr. Margaret Ryan, preventive medicine physician, debunks some myths about vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Measles-Mumps-Rubella | Autism Care Demonstration

Prevent to Protect: Analia

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Analia

Cancer left 5-year-old Analia Pages unable to get vaccinated. Her father, Master Sgt. Edward Pages, has to take extra steps to protect her from diseases she’s susceptible to.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Prevent to Protect: Immunization Awareness

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Immunization Awareness

Getting vaccinated not only protects yourself and your family from deadly diseases, but it also saves the lives to those who don’t have the immune system to fend for themselves. The Military Health System shares the stories of families with children who are at risk when others aren’t immunized.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Prevent to Protect: Rosarios

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Rosarios

10-year-old Tatiana Rosario has a weakened immune system as a result of her cancer treatment. Growing up, she and her family made sacrifices to keep her safe from disease.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Prevent to Protect: Barbara and Floriann

Video
8/30/2019
Prevent to Protect: Barbara and Floriann

Barbara’s son Floriann grew up with an immune dysregulation. A Uniformed Services University pathology professor, she’s experienced first hand the importance of vaccines.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

MHS Minute September 2018

Video
9/21/2018
MHS Minute September 2018

Interested in hearing about some exciting events that took place around the Military Health System last month? Tune in to the MHS Minute to learn more!

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Patriot Warrior 2017 - Moulage

Video
10/5/2017
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rose Jane Schoenwandt, 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Caleb Boles, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, discuss the importance of moulage during Patriot Warrior.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Rose Jane Schoenwandt, 349th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Travis Air Force Base, California, and Staff Sgt. Caleb Boles, 445th Aeromedical Staging Squadron, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, discuss the importance of moulage during Patriot Warrior.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

USNS Mercy: Deployable Medical Center

Video
4/11/2017
U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners explain the mission of the USNS Mercy and its capabilities.

U.S. Navy Sailors and Military Sealift Command civilian mariners explain the mission of the USNS Mercy and its capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Access to Health Care

Trauma Innovations

Video
3/23/2017
Hemorrhage is responsible for 91.5 percent of potentially survivable battlefield deaths. From 2001 to 2011, an estimated 24 percent of combat deaths occurred before patients reached a treatment facility; the major cause of death was blood loss. Battlefield trauma innovations like the occlusion balloon catheter and freeze-dried plasma will enhance the Joint Forces' current capabilities.

Hemorrhage is responsible for 91.5 percent of potentially survivable battlefield deaths. From 2001 to 2011, an estimated 24 percent of combat deaths occurred before patients reached a treatment facility; the major cause of death was blood loss. Battlefield trauma innovations like the occlusion balloon catheter and freeze-dried plasma will enhance the Joint Forces' current capabilities.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Air Force Nurse Key Asset to Army Medevac

Video
3/22/2017
U.S. Air Force Maj. Sandra Nestor, tactical critical care evacuation team nurse, is assigned to the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-149 General Support Aviation Battalion Medevac. Medevac teams specialize in moving and treating U.S. and coalition forces who are injured and risk dying without immediate emergency care.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Sandra Nestor, tactical critical care evacuation team nurse, is assigned to the 3rd Platoon, C Company, 2-149 General Support Aviation Battalion Medevac. Medevac teams specialize in moving and treating U.S. and coalition forces who are injured and risk dying without immediate emergency care.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness

Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise

Video
3/7/2017
The Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) team is comprised of 26 U.S. military personnel and several host nation physicians who have partnered together to train medical teams in preparation for deployment. During the MEDRETE, the teams are able to improve the eyesight of more than 250 Panamanian patients during the two-week training exercise. The goal is to provide medical care that benefits the people of Panama, while building relationships with the accompanying Panamanian medical professionals.

The Ophthalmology Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE) team is comprised of 26 U.S. military personnel and several host nation physicians who have partnered together to train medical teams in preparation for deployment. During the MEDRETE, the teams are able to improve the eyesight of more than 250 Panamanian patients during the two-week training exercise. The goal is to provide medical care that benefits the people of Panama, while building relationships with the accompanying Panamanian medical professionals.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Vision Loss

Exercise Immediate Response 16

Video
1/13/2017
Soldiers and Airmen practice combat trauma care with allied and partner nation medical service members at Cerklje ob Krki, Slovenia, as part of exercise Immediate Response.

Soldiers and Airmen practice combat trauma care with allied and partner nation medical service members at Cerklje ob Krki, Slovenia, as part of exercise Immediate Response.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Global Health Engagement
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

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.