USS WILLIAM P. LAWRENCE, At Sea - Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) received smallpox vaccinations Jan. 17-19.
The smallpox vaccination is required by the Department of Defense to operate in the U.S. 5th fleet Area of Responsibility.
"Because of the probability that adversaries in our area of responsibility may have access to smallpox as a biological weapon, receiving the vaccination is important," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (SS/FMF) Paul
Smallpox is a serious, contagious, and sometimes fatal disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox and the only prevention is vaccination. Lawrence's Medical Department spent three days making sure everyone aboard received a vaccination.
"We looked over the crew's medical records to identify the personnel who needed the vaccinations," said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Germaine Pulliam.
In addition to figuring out which Sailors needed the vaccine, medical prepared for this evolution by training Sailors on the vaccination.
"All Sailors went through extensive training because the risk of spreading it is so high," said Schiowltz. "Additionally, we personally explained possible side effects and after-care instructions to each Sailor."
Medical personnel warned Sailors of some of the more severe side effects, such as accidental spread of the virus elsewhere on the body or to another person if instructions were not followed properly.
Sailors are required to keep the vaccination site covered with a bandage and sleeve, and advised to wash their hands often.
"Sailors can still go about their normal day," said Pulliam. "All they have to do is not touch it and medical will do the rest."
The vaccination is part of an effort to maximize Sailor personal readiness in order to keep them mission effective at all times.