Back to Top Skip to main content

Vaccination is the best defense against the flu

Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications and getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Knight) Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications and getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Knight)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations

SAN ANTONIO – The recent Influenza Awareness Week, Dec. 2-8 educates military personnel about the potential impacts of influenza, or the flu, on the Department of Defense mission and Force Health Protection Readiness.

Army Col. Tammy K. Mayer, Consultant for Army Public Health Nursing and Health Promotion for the U.S. Army Surgeon General said, ”The more that the community knows about flu prevention the better. Stopping the spread of influenza allows us to stay healthy and avoid missing school or work. We are fortunate to have a vaccine to help us in the fight against this deadly disease.”

Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications and getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. 

Vaccination is needed every year because the Influenza viruses change every few years and scientists continue to monitor which viruses are circulating, and change the ingredients in influenza vaccines to match them. 

How well the influenza vaccine works (or its ability to prevent influenza illness) can range widely from season to season. The vaccine’s effectiveness also can vary depending on who is being vaccinated. 

The two main factors in the effectiveness of the vaccine is the health of the patient and the match between the influenza viruses that the influenza vaccine is designed to protect against and the influenza viruses spreading in the community. 

“Each year, the flu vaccine must be reformulated to ensure it is effective. It’s a complex process and can take several months to research and then manufacture the vaccine. Currently there is research underway to develop a universal flu vaccine that provides improved protection against more subtypes of the virus. It may also eliminate the need to get a flu shot every year. There is also ongoing research to reduce the time to manufacture and develop the vaccine from months to weeks,” said Mayer.

“The Army takes flu prevention seriously because of the potential impact of an outbreak on individual and unit readiness. The vaccine is mandatory for service members and strongly encouraged for all other beneficiaries. Most people can recover from the flu by staying home and resting. This also helps to stop the spread of flu” said Mayer. 

Patients without access to a military treatment facility can get the influenza vaccine from a participating retail network pharmacy or their health care provider. Active Duty Service members should follow their service policy for getting vaccinated and making sure it’s recorded.

Annual influenza vaccination is mandatory for civilian healthcare personnel who provide direct patient care and highly recommended for all other hospital employees who work in DoD facilities.

Pregnant women are at an increased risk for severe illness and complications if infected with the influenza virus. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that pregnant women with continued concerns or questions about the influenza vaccination should discuss these with their healthcare provider in order to make an informed decision regarding vaccination.

For those who feel the vaccine may make them sick, Mayer recommends understanding their concerns.

“Everyone who presents for a flu shot will be screened to make sure it’s safe for them to receive the vaccine. I try to help people understand the science behind vaccine development and how the body develops immunity. I also share that there are many other precautions in stopping the spread of the flu and other illnesses, including good washing, cough etiquette, and staying home when you are sick,” said Mayer.

Like any medication, vaccines can cause side effects. The most common side effects are mild and resolve on their own within 24-48 hours. More serious adverse events are rare. Some children should not get certain vaccines for medical reasons, while others should receive more vaccines due to high-risk medical conditions.

Disclaimer: Re-published content may have been edited for length and clarity. Read original post.

You also may be interested in...

Mononucleosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Mononucleosis

A specimen is tested for mononucleosis at the medical clinic on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Influenza

Infographic
7/1/2019
Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Psittacosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Psittacosis

Green-winged Macaw. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Zika

Infographic
7/1/2019
Zika

Anopheles merus mosquito. (CDC photo by James Gathany)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Norovirus

Infographic
6/1/2019
Norovirus

Norovirus Outbreak in Army Service Members, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 2018 In May 2018, an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses due to norovirus occurred at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The outbreak lasted 14 days, and a total of 91 cases, of which 8 were laboratory confirmed and 83 were suspected, were identified.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Cyclosporiasis

Infographic
6/1/2019
Cyclosporiasis

Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in a U.S. Air Force Training Population, Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, TX, 2018 While bacteria and viruses are the usual causes of gastrointestinal disease outbreaks, 2 Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)– Lackland, TX, training populations experienced an outbreak of diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis in June and July 2018. Cases were identified from outpatient medical records and responses to patient questionnaires.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Female infertility

Infographic
6/1/2019
Female infertility

Female infertility, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2018 This report presents the incidence and prevalence of diagnosed female infertility among active component service women. During 2013–2018, 8,744 active component women of childbearing potential were diagnosed with infertility for the first time, resulting in an overall incidence of 79.3 cases per 10,000 person-years (p-yrs).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Ambulatory Visits

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and characteristics of ambulatory healthcare visits of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and distributions of hospitalizations of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during calendar year 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens

Infographic
5/1/2019
Absolute and relative morbidity burdens

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable To Various Illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This annual summary uses a standard disease classification system (modified for use among U.S. military members) and several healthcare burden measures to quantify the impacts of various illnesses and injuries among members of the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various Illnesses and Injuries, Non-Service Member Beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Morbidity Burdens

The current report represents an update and provides a summary of care provided to non-service members in the MHS during calendar year 2018. Healthcare burden estimates are stratified by direct versus outsourced care and across 4 age groups of healthcare recipients.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Heat Illness

Infographic
4/1/2019
Heat Illness

This report summarizes reportable medical events of heat illness as well as heat illness-related hospitalizations and ambulatory visits among active component service members during 2018 and compares them to the previous 4 years. Episodes of heat stroke and heat exhaustion are summarized separately.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Exertional Hyponatremia

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Hyponatremia

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Lyme Disease

Infographic
4/1/2019
Lyme Disease

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 4 5 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 5

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing; Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.