Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Annual flu vaccine remains a health priority during COVID-19 era

Image of Military personnel getting flu shot. Navy Rear Adm. Anne Swap, National Capital Region director, receives her annual influenza vaccine at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. She accompanied Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, to the facility as he, too, received his annual flu shot.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

Active duty service members who received the flu vaccination anywhere other than a military treatment facility should follow their service rules to ensure the flu shot is annotated in their health records.

With the novel coronavirus still in circulation, "We don't know how this flu season will impact us," said Army Lt. Gen. Ron Place, director of the Defense Health Agency. "We do know that getting your influenza vaccine is a critical step to keep you and your family healthy."

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness. It can be spread to others up to about 6 feet away, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu is spread mainly by droplets from sick people when they cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people nearby, or they might be inhaled into the lungs.

The flu can be associated with serious illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths ­ particularly among older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and people of all ages with certain chronic medical conditions.

As the CDC notes, flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection from the viruses that are used to make the vaccine.

Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place getting his flu vaccine
Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, receives his flu vaccine at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. 

An annual flu vaccination is mandatory for active-duty service members, notes Dr. Jay Montgomery, medical director of the Defense Health Agency's Immunization Healthcare Division North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub. He and other health care experts recommend that, generally, everyone six months and older should also get it.

"Adding influenza vaccination to social distancing and masking will lower your risk of contracting two potentially serious respiratory diseases close together – which could very much worsen your outcome," Montgomery said.

"Getting the vaccine also means you're also less likely to potentially expose yourself to COVID-19 by sitting in an urgent care facility or emergency room waiting to have your flu symptoms treated," he added.

Children should be immunized even if schools don’t fully reopen, Montgomery said. "School isn't the only place where children can come in contact with viruses and bacteria that cause them to get sick," he said. "Playgrounds and grocery stores are also examples of exposure locations."

In the Department of Defense, the services annually review and vote on the list for vaccine flu distribution. Priority goes to overseas locations, ships afloat, and deployed personnel. When those locations are fulfilled, distribution is prioritized by each individual service for delivery to their locations in the continental United States, in support of all active and reserve locations. 

When the vaccine arrives at a military medical treatment facility, the commander of the installation has the authority to determine priority for receiving it. Learn more about DoD flu vaccine availability on the Military Health System website.

If you want to get a flu shot before it’s available at your MTF, the vaccine is covered by TRICARE with no cost-shares or copayments as long as it's administered by a pharmacist at a participating network pharmacy or by a TRICARE-authorized provider. Learn more about the TRICARE benefit and the flu vaccine at the TRICARE website.

You also may be interested in...

Taking the stings out of summer fun

Article
8/15/2022
Beekeeper in protective gear holds framework with bees and honey..

What you should know and do about bee, wasp, and hornet stings

Recommended Content:

Bug-Borne Illnesses | Summer Safety | Public Health

Learn the Most Recent Age Requirements for COVID-19 Vaccines and Boosters

Article
8/10/2022
A man fist bumps a child.

The best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to get your vaccines and booster shots.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Telemedicine Privilege by Proxy Expands Access to MHS Care

Article
8/10/2022
Infographic featuring Lt Col Legault

MHS has Telemedicine Privilege by Proxy: A fast, efficient process that enables providers to file one application and get permission to virtually treat patients anywhere in the MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Telehealth Program

What You Need to Know About Monkeypox

Article
8/5/2022
A human hand with sores

Monkeypox is rare. Here’s how to protect yourself and your family and when to contact a medical provider.

Recommended Content:

Monkeypox | Public Health

Army Experts: Rabies Risk is Not Worth It

Article
7/5/2022
Army Experts: Rabies Risk is Not Worth It

Almost 60,000 people around the world die from rabies each year. Despite the common belief that rabid animals are easily identified by foaming at the mouth and aggressive behavior, infected animals may not look sick or act strangely.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health | Rabies

Future of Nursing: Telehealth, More Innovation and Maybe Some Robots

Article
5/13/2022
Second Lt. Nina Hoskins, 81st Surgical Operations Squadron operating room nurse, briefs Col. Debra Lovette, 81st Training Wing commander, and other base leadership on robotics surgery capabilities inside the robotics surgery clinic at the Keesler Medical Center June 16, 2017. (Photo: Kemberly Groue, U.S. Air Force)

The future of nursing is here due in part to changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Nursing in the Military Health System | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

How One Military Nurse Persevered Through the COVID-19 Response

Article
5/5/2022
Air Force Capt. Courtney Ebeling, a medical-surgical nurse at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Family Health Clinic, Texas, was deployed to support the COVID-19 response in Afghanistan in 2021. They administered vaccinations to U.S. citizens, service members, and foreign military members as well as supported the preparation to withdraw from the country. (Photo: Courtesy of Air Force Capt. Courtney Ebeling)

Nurses across the Military Health System have played a vital role in providing routine patient care and meeting the needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Nursing in the Military Health System

‘I Love the Intensity’ – One Nurse Recalls Three COVID-19 Deployments

Article
5/5/2022
In 2020, Air Force 1st Lt. Tiffany Parra, an ICU nurse at the 633rd Medical Group, on Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, was deployed to a North Dakota hospital to support a FEMA COVID-19 mission. In the photo, she trains on equipment used for critical patients in a North Dakota ICU. (Photo: Courtesy of Air Force 1st Lt. Tiffany Parra)

Nurses are unique, they follow a calling to care for others. Military nurses do that as well as serve their nation. For Nurses Week, the MHS highlights some of their own.

Recommended Content:

Nursing in the Military Health System | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Pandemic Spotlights the Vital Role of Military Lab Workers

Article
5/2/2022
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashley Solomon, 18th Medical Support Squadron NCO in charge of microbiology, unloads blood samples from a centrifuge at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 31, 2019. (Photo: Tech. Sgt. Matthew B. Fredericks, U.S. Air Force)

MHS clinical labs produce results.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Helping Your Child to Cope with Grief and Losses Related to COVID-19

Article
4/28/2022
Shirley Lanham Elementary School students perform Taiko drumming during a Month of the Military Child celebration aboard the Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan, April 6, 2022. (Photo: Petty Officer 2nd Class Ange-Olivier Clement, Naval Air Facility Atsugi)

Many military children have lost loved ones to COVID-19. How parents can help with the grief.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

How to Help Military Children Reconnect After Two Years of the Pandemic

Article
4/25/2022
Airman 1st Class Rocio Romo, Space Launch Delta 30 public affairs specialist, and her son pose for a photo at Cocheo Park on Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, March 25, 2022. During the month of April, we celebrate Month of the Military Child to highlight the sacrifices military children make on the home front while their parents serve the United States. (Photo: Airman Kadielle Shaw, Space Launch Delta 30 Public Affairs)

How parents can help children stressed by more than two years of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Month of the Military Child - Celebrating Military Kids | Children's Health | Psychological Fitness | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 Booster Effectiveness Remained High During Omicron Surge

Article
4/18/2022
Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Mary Ashcraft, assigned to the combat ship USS Tulsa, administers a COVID-19 vaccine booster to Aviation Machinist Mate 1st Class Anthony Johnson Jan. 10, 2022, at Apra Harbor, Guam. (Photo: Mass Communication Specialist Petty Officer 1st Class Devin M. Langer, Command Destroyer Squadron 7)

Two new studies of active-duty service members show COVID-19 booster vaccines are effective, but uptake rates in the military community lagged behind the civilian population.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

8 Tips to Help Kids Adjust to Change during the New Pandemic Phase

Article
4/15/2022
A parent comforts his child while she receives a pediatric dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Jan. 28, 2022. (Photo: Airman 1st Class Anna Nolte, 18th Wing Public Affairs)

Parents should prepare their kids for the new normal of the ongoing pandemic, recognizing that the status of the disease can change quickly as new variants of COVID-19 emerge.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Children's Health

Dr. Jay Montgomery Details Importance of the Immunization Healthcare Division

Article
4/8/2022
Dr. Jay Montgomery is a medical director for DHA’s Immunization Healthcare Division. In addition to being a clinician and educator, he also volunteers with Wounded Warriors to design, build and fly radio controlled helicopters. (Courtesy Photo)

Dr. Jay Montgomery is a medical director for the Defense Health Agency’s Immunization Healthcare Division’s North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub. In his role, Montgomery helps address vaccine and immunization questions and concerns.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Health Readiness & Combat Support | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases

Military Medical Officials Back FY 23 Budget Before Senate Appropriations Committee

Article
4/6/2022
Marines with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing take precautionary measures by cleaning and disinfecting their hands during field day on Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., March 20, 2020, to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to perform mission-essential tasks. (Photo: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jaime Reyes)

Military Medical officials, including Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, Defense Health Agency director, back FY 23 Budget before the Senate Appropriations Committee, March 29, 2022.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 18
Refine your search
Last Updated: September 01, 2021

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.