Military Families Have Many Options for the Flu Vaccination
It’s not too late to get your annual flu shot. Eligible TRICARE beneficiaries can receive a flu vaccine for free. Visit TRICARE’s main flu website for general information.
Beneficiaries have several options. They can go to their TRICARE Primary Care Manager (PCM), their local Military Treatment Facility (MTF), or a local TRICARE retail network pharmacy to receive the flu vaccine. Remember, Walgreens is NO longer considered a TRICARE retail network pharmacy! TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) recommends beneficiaries call before going to get the flu vaccine to make sure the vaccine is available. It is important to talk to your PCM about whether or not you should get the vaccine. Remember that your PCM may charge you a copayment or cost-share for the office visit or for other services received during your visit.
There are three types of seasonal flu vaccines available to TRICARE beneficiaries:
- an injectable form that can be used for all ages from 6months and over;
- an intranasal spray that can be given to beneficiaries between the ages of 2 and 49 years old; and
- Fluzone High-Dose shot for people 65 years and older
Each year, experts from Food and Drug Administration (FDA), World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other institutions study virus samples collected from around the world. They identify the influenza viruses that are the most likely to cause illness during the upcoming flu season. The WHO recommended that the Northern Hemisphere's 2012-2013 seasonal influenza vaccine be made from the following three vaccine viruses:
- H1N1 (an A/California/7/2009);
- H3H2 (an A/Victoria/361/2011); and
- a B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses)
The H1N1 virus was used to make the 2012-2013 flu vaccine; it is the same virus that was included in the 2011-2012 vaccine. However, H3N2 and B vaccine viruses are not the same virus used in the 2011-2012 influenza vaccine. For additional information about the flu vaccine, the virus, and when to get it, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Until military families are relieved of the weight of war, we hope you will continue to contribute to their wellbeing.
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