Skip to main content

Military Health System

Military Health System encourages influenza vaccination for 2020

Image of Military personnel giving patient a flu vaccine in her left arm. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Ilandra O’Doherty of Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) administered the influenza vaccination during the start of the command's annual shot exercise (SHOTEX). The seasonal influenza vaccine immunization program at NHB is designed to protect Sailors and Marines, mission-essential healthcare personnel, and eligible beneficiaries. (Photo by Douglas H Stutz, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton.)

Recommended Content:

Influenza, Northern Hemisphere | Influenza, Southern Hemisphere | Influenza Summary and Reports | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Public Health | Seasonal Influenza Vaccine Toolkit

Military Health System continues to provide annual influenza vaccination to all in need.

In conjunction with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MHS leadership and public health emergency officers (PHEO) from all service branches stress the need for getting a flu shot, especially during the ongoing pandemic outbreak.

“It’s important to take care of the one – influenza – before we have a vaccine to effectively take care of the other – COVID-19,” stressed Navy Cmdr. Robert Uniszkiewicz, Naval Hospital Bremerton (NHB) COVID-19 lead and PHEO.

CDC and MHS experts have long been aware that the start of the annual cold and flu season, along with the continued need to stop the spread of COVID-19, presents an overlapping public health concern.

There are also similarities and differences in symptoms between COVID-19 and influenza. Both are contagious respiratory illnesses. While COVID-19 is caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the season flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. 

The CDC notes that COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people, particularly the elderly with underlying health issues. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and they can be contagious for longer. 

A crucial difference in the two illnesses is that there’s readily available vaccine to protect against flu. Until the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 is generally available in the coming months, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the coronavirus which causes COVID-19 disease. 

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone. 

Similarities: Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
  • Differences: Those stricken with COVID-19 have noted a lapse or loss of taste and smell. 

Another difference is that if a person has COVID-19, it could take them longer to develop symptoms than if they had flu. Typically, a person develops symptoms five days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary. With the flu, a person typically develops symptoms anywhere from one to four days after infection.

There’s also similarities and differences how both viruses spread. 

Both COVID-19 and flu can spread from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (six feet and less). Both are spread mainly by droplets made when people with either COVID-19 or flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get infected by physical human contact – such as shaking hands–or by touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

Both viruses can be spread to others by people before they begin showing symptoms, or if they have only have mild symptoms or even if they never developed symptoms (asymptomatic).

The differences are that while COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. The virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.

Both COVID-19 and flu can result in complications, including pneumonia, respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (i.e. fluid in lungs).

According to Dr. Dan Frederick, NHB Population Health officer, immunization remains the primary method of reducing seasonal influenza illness and its complications. The seasonal influenza vaccine not only helps protect vaccinated individuals, but also helps protect entire communities by preventing and reducing the spread of the disease.

“The efficacy of the seasonal influenza in preventing infection varies by year,” explained Army Lt. Col. Elizabeth Markelz, Infectious Disease Service chief at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. “What remains constant is the significant impact the influenza vaccine has on reducing hospitalizations, Intensive Care unit admissions and death.”

“Getting the flu shot helps protect someone once the flu season starts in their community,” Frederick explained. “The vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to the illness.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, influenza vaccination prevented an estimated 58,000 flu related hospitalizations during the 2018-2019 flu season, added Markelz. “In a study using data from the U.S. Influenza Vaccines Effectiveness Network (Flu VE), the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 7.1 million illnesses, 3.7 million medical visits, 109,000 hospitalization and 8000 deaths during the 2017-2018 flu season.”

Frederick also emphasized that just as it is important for military personnel who live and work in close quarters to receive the vaccine, it is also strongly advised for school-aged children, even if their school year has been altered during the pandemic.

“Influenza is not the common cold. It can be a life-threatening disease that especially can put specific groups in jeopardy,” explained Frederick. “While certainly people with respiratory conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), are at increased risk, those over 65, young children, and pregnant women would be at the top of my list.”

The MHS seasonal influenza vaccine immunization program is designed to protect sailors and marines, mission-essential healthcare personnel, and eligible beneficiaries.

Annual influenza vaccinations are required for all active duty military personnel, selected Reserves and healthcare workers. 

Some MTFs experienced delays in final influenza vaccine shipments due late November, early December. Those doses are now out for delivery. However, this should not delay immunizing our service members, front-line healthcare workers and other beneficiaries. Community resources are available through TRICARE to provide timely immunizations.

“If you are an active duty service member or a healthcare worker, and plan to get your flu shot from somewhere other than a MTF, then be sure to check with your supervisor to identify the specific immunization information required to accurately track your immunization status,” advised Markelz. 

“It’s never too late to get your flu shot,” reiterated Army Lt. Col. Christopher Ellison, DHA-Immunization Healthcare Division’s deputy director of operations. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccination can still be beneficial as long as flu viruses are circulating. If you have not been vaccinated by the end of November, the vaccine can still offer protection if received in December or later.” 

You also may be interested in...

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 4 – April 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Hospitalizations among active duty personnel; Ambulatory visits among active duty personnel; Reportable medical events among active duty personnel; Relative burdens of selected illnesses and injuries; Acute respiratory disease surveillance; Characteristics of active duty personnel.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 5 – May/June 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Diagnoses of Clinical Obesity, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2000; Completeness and Timeliness of Reporting of Hospitalized Notifiable Cases, U.S. Army, 2000; Acute Side Effects of Anthrax Vaccine in ROTC Cadets Participating In Advanced Camp, Fort Lewis, 2000; Sentinel Reportable Events; ARD Surveillance Update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 3 – March 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Heat injuries - U.S. Army, 1998-2000; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Cutaneous fungal infections - U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-1999; Noise-induced hearing loss among men - U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-1999; ARD surveillance update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 8 – September/October 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Disease and nonbattle injury surveillance among deployed U.S. Armed Forces: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Southwest Asia, July 2000-September 2001; Monthly installation injury surveillance reports: surveillance of injuries and their impacts at the installation level, U.S. Armed Forces; Sentinel Reportable Events; ARD Surveillance Update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 7 – August 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: ARD Surveillance Update; Sentinel Reportable Events; Lightning-Associated Injuries among Active Duty Members, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2000; Electrical Injuries Among Active Duty Members, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-2000.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 1 – January 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria among active duty U.S. soldiers, 2000; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; P. vivax malaria acquired by U.S. soldiers in Korea: acquisition trends and incubation period characteristics, 1994-2000; P. falciparum malaria in the sons of a soldier in Hanau, Germany; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: Reportable medical events; Reportable events, by quarter, 2000; Reportable events, by patient category, 1999-2000; Active duty force strength (September 2000).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 2 – February 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Infectious Mononucleosis among Active Duty U.S. Service members, 1998-1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Pseudo-outbreak Associated with False Positive Laboratory Tests for Mononucleosis, Lackland Air Force Base, January-February 1999; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in a Family of Five, Olsbrucken, Germany; ARD surveillance update; Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Active Duty Soldiers, 1998-1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 9 – November/December 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Cold weather injuries among active duty soldiers, U.S. Army, 1997-2001; Monthly installation injury surveillance reports: surveillance of injuries and their impacts at the installation level, U.S. Navy and Marines; Monthly installation injury surveillance reports: surveillance of injuries and their impacts at the installation level, U.S. Air Force; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Army, January 1995-June 2001; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Navy, January 1998-June 2001; Completeness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Air Force, January 1998-June 2001; Sentinel Reportable Events; ARD Surveillance Update.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 7 No. 6 – July 2001

Report
1/1/2001

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Morbidity among women who are pregnant and have babies on active duty, U.S. Armed Forces,1997-1999; Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Type 1, antibody screening among soldiers and civilian applicants for military service, 1985- 2001; ARD Surveillance Update; Sentinel Reportable Events.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 3 – March 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Heat-related injuries among active duty soldiers and Marines, 1997-1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Overhydration and hyponatremia among active duty soldiers,1997-1999; Five most common arthropod-borne diseases among active duty service members in the U.S. Armed Forces, 1995-1999; Acute respiratory disease surveillance update; Envenomations of active duty soldiers, October 1997 - September 1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 2 – February 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Malaria among members of an inspection team after a one-week mission to Central America; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Appendicitis and appendectomies, active duty U.S. Armed Forces,1990-1998; Injury-related morbidity in relation to military occupations, active duty U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-1999; Acute respiratory disease surveillance update; Correction: Force strength, active duty soldiers (September 1999).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 5 – May / June 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Skin cancer, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Bell's Palsy, U.S. Armed Forces, 1998-1999; ARD surveillance update; Carpal tunnel syndrome, U.S. soldiers, 1998-1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 1 – January 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Meningococcal disease among soldiers, U.S. Army, 1964-1998; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Incidence of renal stone disease, U.S. Military, 1998; ARD surveillance update; Supplement #1: Reportable medical events; Reportable events, by quarter, 1999; Reportable events, by patient category, 1998-1999; Active duty force strength (September 1999).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 4 – April 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: Summary of ambulatory visits, U.S. Army, 1999; Summary of hospitalizations, U.S. Army, 1999; Summary of reportable events, U.S. Army, 1999; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Acute respiratory disease surveillance update; Force strength, U.S. Army, December 1999.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health

MSMR Vol. 6 No. 10 – December 2000

Report
1/1/2000

A monthly publication of the Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. This issue of the peer-reviewed journal contains the following articles: ARD surveillance update; Completeness of reporting of hospitalized cases of reportable medical events, U.S. Navy, January 1998 - June 2000; Cold weather injuries, active duty soldiers; Sentinel reportable events by reporting facility; Sentinel reportable events, active duty soldiers; Ehrlichia chaffeensis infection in an active duty soldier, Korea; Completeness and timeliness of reporting of hospitalized notifiable cases, U.S. Army, January - June 2000.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Public Health
<< < ... 46 47 48 49 50  ... > >> 
Showing results 736 - 750 Page 50 of 54
Refine your search
Last Updated: April 05, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery