A vaccine is being administered to a patient Jan. 30 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The immunizations clinic provides annual and deployment vaccines to active duty members and their families in order to protect the patient’s health at home or downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Briana Jones)
Tech. Sgt. Richard Sangston, 31st Medical Group allergy and immunizations technician, administers a vaccine to a patient Jan. 30 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Last year, the immunizations clinic gave more than 16,000 vaccines to Team Aviano members. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Briana Jones)
A vaccine is being prepared Jan. 30 at Aviano Air Base, Italy. The immunizations clinic provides routine and deployment vaccines to active duty members and their families in order to protect the patient’s health at home or down range. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Briana Jones)
by Airman 1st Class Briana Jones
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/11/2013 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- The immunizations clinic provides active duty members and their families with routine and deployment vaccines in order to protect the patient's health at home or down range.
Last year, they gave more than 16,000 vaccines to Team Aviano members.
"All vaccines are paramount in the prevention of disease and outbreaks," said Tech. Sgt. Richard Sangston, 31st MDG allergy and immunizations technician. "Due to the recent flu epidemic in the United States, it is highly encouraged that everyone receives their seasonal influenza vaccination, even if they are not living in the affected areas."
Airmen who work at the immunization clinic complete a six-week allergy and immunology course at Walter Reed Army Medical Center Bethesda, MD. This course includes specialized training in vaccine administration, storage and handling and disease prevention through vaccinations. When completed, Airmen are armed with the skills necessary to become a qualified immunizations technician.
These individuals are not only trained to perform vaccinations but are also trained to be allergy technicians. Allergy technicians complete specialized duties such as allergy and skin tests. They also prepare medications like allergy serums and injections.
"The part of my job that I enjoy the most is conducting allergy testing," said Sangston. "There is a certain satisfaction to be gained knowing that I have helped an allergy patient by explaining their symptoms and providing knowledge of living with allergies, and delivering treatment, all of which ultimately result in improvement of the quality of life for my patients."
Tech. Sgt. Kathleen Mansfield, 31st MDG NCO in charge of allergy and immunizations, has been in her current job for eight years and says she enjoys doing it.
"I believe the most important part of my job is education," said Mansfield. "It's important for my patients to know why they are receiving certain shots, and what kind of side effects to expect. It's also important to know that some shots are given more than once, so the patient should return for those required booster doses so their body can build up that immunity to that particular disease."
The 31st MDG Immunizations clinic is located in Area 1 and is open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, contact the immunization clinic at 632-5400.