National Infant Immunization Week

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Savannah Schuman, 6th Healthcare Operations Squadron NCOIC, allergy and immunizations

Vaccines have been a vital part of our world history for more than 200 years and they are an important topic of conversation especially since the arrival of the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines. 

Without vaccines, our nation would not have been able to eradicate or decrease the many diseases experienced throughout our history.

During National Infant Immunization Week (April 24-May 1), the MacDill Immunizations Clinic staff would like to educate and talk about the importance of vaccines not only for infants, but also for everyone and what the 6th Medical Group can provide for you and your family. 

Here at the Immunizations Clinic, we are dedicated to ensuring that everyone who enters our facility is offered the vaccinations they need to keep them safe and protected.

We administer different types of vaccines including, infant and school age children, travel and the COVID-19 vaccine.

Infant and school age children vaccines are highly encouraged and most school systems require them for enrollment.

Infants are highly susceptible to various diseases in their new stages of life. Their immune system tolerance has not developed well enough to fight off some illnesses and diseases, leaving some infants to face long term or terminal illnesses.

One example is whooping cough, which has resulted in many children’s deaths before the vaccine for Pertussis was available.

Children would also catch measles and smallpox resulting in long lasting effects and/or being scarred for life.

Other vaccines offered at the MacDill Immunizations Clinic is our newest vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus, which we have used to vaccinate over 14,000 members of our base population and beneficiaries to date.

We have been utilizing a system called the point of distribution method and it has been a huge success. We have Airmen working hard every day assisting in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine to help create a “herd immunity” effect.

What is herd immunity? Herd immunity is a form of indirect protection from an infectious disease, it can occur when a sufficient percentage of a population has become immune to an infection by vaccination or a previous infection. As a result, it reduces the likelihood of infection for individuals who lack immunity. An example of herd immunity is the use of the Varicella vaccine, also known as chickenpox.

Prior to the Varicella vaccine, children would catch the very contagious disease and it would spread like wildfire, causing widespread infection with both children and adults. In addition, infections are different for everyone, causing some who contracted chickenpox to have more of a reaction than others.

The influenza vaccine is another highly encouraged vaccine, which is why flu season is a very important and busy time for us here at the Immunization Clinic.

We strive to be ready to deliver the highest level of care; ensuring vaccines are provided when they are available to avoid the spread of disease, such as the flu, measles and smallpox.

We do our best to ensure we are available to the 6th Air Refueling Wing, our mission partners and surrounding military affiliates to provide services to administer the influenza vaccine to each unit in order to avoid work stoppages. This also includes the Child Development Center and Youth Services.

We understand that vaccines may not be everyone’s preference and not everyone is a fan of getting immunizations; however, they are vital to eradicate and decrease infectious diseases.

Regardless if you prefer vaccinations or not, know that, we are available to answer your questions and can provide educational materials upon request.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is another resource for education on vaccines and vaccine schedules to assist you in determining which vaccines are beneficial based on your family’s needs and lifestyle.

The CDC recommends that you vaccinate your child according to the schedules posted here:

For additional information, please contact the MacDill Immunizations Clinic (813) 827-9371