Photo Information

Seaman Jose Acosta prepares an influenza vaccine at Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, Nov. 25.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Isaac Munce

United States Naval Hospital Okinawa distributes flu vaccines to thousands of service members and families

8 Dec 2020 | Lance Cpl. Isaac Munce The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

The United States Naval Hospital Okinawa has administered over 4,800 influenza vaccines to Marines, sailors and families within the last several weeks.

In order to protect patients and staff from the COVID-19 virus, the USNHO is administering the influenza vaccine at a tent set up near the rear entrance of the hospital, which ensures appropriate social distancing and adequate airflow among individuals.

Cmdr. Lucas A. Johnson, a preventive medicine physician at the USNHO and a native of San Diego, California, explains how the USNHO is prepared to distribute thousands of vaccines at once.

“Every year hundreds of thousands of Americans are hospitalized due to influenza,” explains Johnson. “Influenza vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family against influenza.”

The quantity at which the vaccines are being given shows the true efficiency of the USNHO. With the hospital already administering 4,800 vaccines in the tent alone, the number is expected to double in the next two weeks.

“Influenza vaccine is the single best way to protect yourself and your family against influenza.” Cmdr. Lucas A. Johnson, USNHO preventive medicine physician

“This year we were able to distribute over 20,000 doses of influenza vaccine within 10 days of the product arriving on island,” explains Johnson. ”Every year, USNHO and the branch medical clinics use the influenza vaccine campaign to exercise our rapid distribution plans. This practice allows us to continually improve our ability to rapidly vaccinate Okinawa’s warfighters and families.”

The USNHO will be administering vaccines from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm every day until Sunday, December 13. All Marines and sailors are required to get an annual flu vaccine; however, all hospital beneficiaries are encouraged to receive theirs as well.

For more information regarding the influenza vaccine, please call the USNHO Immunizations Clinic at 646-WELL, option 1, option 4 (098-971-WELL option 1, option 4, if using a cell phone).

USNHO is the referral center for the entire western Pacific area of operations. It is jointly staffed by active duty Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel, as well as U.S. civilian and Japanese Master Labor Contract employees. The hospital serves a beneficiary population of 47,000 active duty personnel, family members, civilian employees, contract personnel, and retirees on Okinawa and provides referral services for 189,000 beneficiaries in the Pacific.