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Moody immunization clinic saves lives one shot at a time

The 23d Medical Operations Squadron’s immunization clinic provides vaccinations to combat illnesses and prevent diseases for all of Moody’s active-duty personnel, dependents and retirees. The clinic utilizes disease preventable vaccines while teaching the safety, prevention, effectiveness and protective measures of the medical procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nash/Released)

The 23d Medical Operations Squadron’s immunization clinic provides vaccinations to combat illnesses and prevent diseases for all of Moody’s active-duty personnel, dependents and retirees. The clinic utilizes disease preventable vaccines while teaching the safety, prevention, effectiveness and protective measures of the medical procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nash/Released)

Tyson Gustin, son of Stacy and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Gustin, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron, receives flu mist from a 23d Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician, Jan. 21, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During fiscal year 2015, the clinic administered approximately 17,000 vaccinations with an estimated 5,500 of those being flu vaccinations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash/Released)

Tyson Gustin, son of Stacy and U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Gustin, 23d Logistics Readiness Squadron, receives flu mist from a 23d Medical Operations Squadron allergy and immunization technician, Jan. 21, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. During fiscal year 2015, the clinic administered approximately 17,000 vaccinations with an estimated 5,500 of those being flu vaccinations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chelsea Jones, 23d Medical Operations Squadron immunization back-up technician, prepares to give a patient  a flu shot Jan. 21, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The clinic provides immunizations while also educating and counseling patients on vaccination practices, policies and their life-saving importance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Chelsea Jones, 23d Medical Operations Squadron immunization back-up technician, prepares to give a patient a flu shot Jan. 21, 2016, at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. The clinic provides immunizations while also educating and counseling patients on vaccination practices, policies and their life-saving importance. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Greg Nash/Released)

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Annually, thousands of individuals enter Moody's immunization clinic after being alerted that it's that time of year again for their vaccinations. After the notification, anxiety overpowers some and others become weary due to painful and discomforting past experiences associated with receiving shots.

Fortunately for Team Moody's personnel, the 23d Medical Operations Squadron's immunization clinic works diligently to alleviate their uneasiness and unawareness by providing immunizations to combat illnesses. They also educate and counsel individuals on vaccination practices, policies and their life-saving importance. 

"It's important to get vaccinated because if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will become infected and will spread disease to others," said U.S. Air Force Cynthia Reichardt, 23d MDOS NCO in charge of immunizations. "Soon we will undo the progress we have made over the years with these disease preventable vaccines."

The clinic's allergy and immunization technicians utilizes these vaccines and teaches the safety, prevention, effectiveness and protective measures implemented with these medical procedures.

"Vaccines help protect people from getting diseases," said Reichardt. "They work by containing the same antigens, or parts of antigens, that cause diseases. For example, measles vaccines contain measles virus. But the antigens in vaccines are either killed, or weakened to the point that they don't cause disease but still strong enough to make the immune system produce antibodies that lead to immunity.

"Vaccines are safe but like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects," Reichardt added. "The most common side effects are mild. On the other hand, many vaccine-preventable disease symptoms can be serious, or even deadly. Even though many of these diseases are rare in this country, they still occur around the world and can be brought into the U.S., putting the unvaccinated at risk."

With the luxury of having access to modernized medicine, armed forces members can support humanitarian relief efforts, combat enemy forces and relocate for a permanent change of station in optimum health standards. By doing this, however, they still must protect themselves in foreign lands due to exposure to possible unvaccinated people and unfamiliar diseases.

"As service members, we are mandated and have the option to take certain vaccinations," said Reichardt. "We live in a nation where medical practices are advanced compared to some of the places we deploy to. Because of this, we have to be cautious because we may be exposed to different things that our immune system isn't used to.

"We provide deployment processing lines which are requested by squadron," Reichardt added. "Deployment shots are based on country and potential risk of exposure to certain vaccine preventable diseases. For those traveling to other countries, check the Center for Disease Control and Prevention traveler's website to see what vaccinations are recommended for that area. We can service those certain vaccinations on the list to ensure good health."

Vaccinations are a highly recommended process but isn't the be-all end-all for combating illnesses.

"Staying up-to-date with vaccinations is always good but so is being proactive in taking care of yourself for good health," said Senior Airman Gelisa Adams, 23d MDOS allergy and immunizations technician. "Good hygiene, proper hand washing and using sneezing and coughing etiquette are essential to avoid getting sick."

The clinic continuously monitors patient's vaccination records and ensures their overall health standards are up to optimum standards. Members can check their status and the status of any family member under the age of 16 through the Air Force portal under my IMR (Individual Medical Readiness.)

For more information, individuals can call the immunization clinic at 229-257-4317 or visit by walk-in basis Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.