It may be part of an exercise, but have no doubt: The needles in this simulated pandemic flu scenario are real. And so are the deltoids of thousands of sailors to be immunized in coming days as part of a test of the Navy’s capacity to “surge” huge quantities of vaccines to its work force.
Every military exercise gets a name, typically by shortening key words and condensing the spaces between them. The first phase of PANFLUEX – short for pandemic flu exercise – begins today, when nurses and corpsmen from Portsmouth Naval Medical Center will fan out to local military medical clinics. Their goal is to vaccinate about 6,000 “mission essential personnel” within 48 hours.