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We have begun preparations for our annual influenza vaccination campaign and have big goals to reach.

The goal is to vaccinate 100 percent of our service members, 100 percent of our health care workers and more than 80 percent of other members of our community.

Why 80 percent? Because successfully vaccinating 80 percent of the community against flu is when we reach the very important goal of herd immunity.

What is herd immunity?

Herd immunity rests on the principle of safety in numbers.

If enough people are vaccinated against flu, it slows the spread of the flu virus, and the disease has a hard time establishing itself in that population. That, in turn, protects those who cannot be vaccinated such as infants under 6 months old and people with severe allergies to the flu vaccine.

So when you get a flu vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself but helping to protect others around you who are not vaccinated.

Preventive Medicine will vaccinate specific groups starting in late September, including retirees at the Retiree Appreciation Day event on Sept. 28, and will be at McGill Training Center starting Oct. 9.

You also will be able to get a flu vaccine through your health care provider and at numerous other sites in the surrounding community including civilian pharmacies.

Vaccination is still the single best way to protect you and your loved ones from getting the flu.

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