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Prevent Serious Illness, Get Updated COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines

Image of Prevent Serious Illness, Get Updated COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines. The Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently approved new vaccinations for COVID-19 and Respiratory Syncytial Virus for the upcoming flu and cold season. The fall and winter of 2023 virus season will be the first time that vaccines for the three viruses responsible for most hospitalizations—COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and the flu—will be available at the same time. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jackson Adkins)

The fall and winter months tend to be the time when most people are sick with respiratory illnesses—though, these can happen anytime of the year.

The 2023 season will be the first time that vaccines for the three viruses responsible for most hospitalizations—COVID-19, Respiratory Syncytial Virus, and the flu—will be available at the same time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Eligible Military Health System beneficiaries can make a vaccination appointment at their military hospital or clinic or at a TRICARE retail network pharmacy at no cost.

The Food and Drug Administration approved updated COVID-19 vaccines for 2023-2024 that are aimed at fighting newer variants that are now circulating.

The CDC is recommending new COVID-19 vaccinations if not already received within the past two months, and that everyone 6-months-old and older be vaccinated against influenza and COVID-19.

Experts agree that COVID-19 vaccines, along with the flu vaccines, continue to be the most effective tool to prevent serious illness and hospitalizations. Since Jan 1, 2020, there have been an estimated 1,143,724 deaths in the United States from COVID-19, with over 146 million infections, and 7.5 million people hospitalized, according to the CDC.

“Vaccines against respiratory illnesses can reduce the chance of getting these illnesses, but more importantly, they greatly lessen the risk of becoming seriously ill from these diseases,” said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. (Dr.) John Iskander, chief of the Immunization Healthcare Division of the Defense Health Agency.

COVID-19 remains a public health threat and recent data shows an increase in hospitalizations, said Iskander. He stressed that the “very old and the very young are especially at risk.”

People over 60 should also discuss with their doctors about receiving an RSV vaccination. Two new vaccines are available for people in this age group.

Children below 8-months-old should receive the new RSV prevention shot, and children with certain medical conditions who are 8-19 months-old should get the shot as well, according to the CDC.

“Vaccines are the safest medical intervention in the world,” said Iskander.

Additional Protective Measures to Prevent Spread of Disease

Vaccinations are the first tool to protect yourself, but practicing good healthy habits can also help protect you from getting sick.

Additional tools to protect yourself include:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Stay home if you are feeling sick.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay in well-ventilated air spaces.

For more information go to: TRICARE.mil/covid.

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Immunization Awareness: Homeschool

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Immunization Awareness: Chickenpox

Chickenpox Vaccination - The first doe is recommended at 12 through 15 months of age and the second dose at 4 through 6 years of age.

CDC recommends two doses of chickenpox vaccine for children, adolescents, and adults who have never had chickenpox and were never vaccinated. See https://health.mil/chickenpox for more information. #ImmunizationAwarenessMonth #Vaccines #MilVax

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Immunization Awareness: Shot Record

Shot record - ensure all vaccines are input into your or your child's health record

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Immunization Awareness: Meningococcal

Meningococcal vaccine for college - some states, colleges and universities require meningococcal vaccination for certain students

CDC recommends meningococcal vaccination for first-year college students living in residence halls. Talk to your child’s health care provider to see if they recommend meningococcal vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/meningococcal/about/risk-community.html. #ImmunizationAwarenessMonth #Vaccines #MilVax

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Immunization Awareness: Routine Childhood

Routine Childhood Vaccination Schedule - Childhood immunizations are given starting at birth through 4-6 years of age

The recommended childhood immunization schedule in the U.S. protects against 14 diseases. Easy-to-read routine childhood vaccination schedules and immunization recommendations are available at https://health.mil/vaccineschedules. #ImmunizationAwarenessMonth #Vaccines #MilVax

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Immunization Awareness: Combination Vaccines

Combination Vaccines - You may be able to reduce the number of shots your child needs while protecting against the same number of serious diseases.

Some vaccines can be given together in one shot known as a combination vaccine. Talk to your health care provider about which combination vaccines might be right for you or your child. https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/why-vaccinate/combination-vaccines.html. #ImmunizationAwarenessMonth #Vaccines #MilVax

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Immunization Awareness: Catch-Up

Catch-up vaccination schedule - Make sure that your child sees their doctor for well-child visits and recommended vaccines.

If your child missed some vaccines along the way, talk to their health care provider about the best and quickest way to get up to date. https://health.mil/vaccineschedules. #ImmunizationAwarenessMonth #Vaccines #MilVax

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COVID-19: Reduce Your Risk

Graphic explaining how to reduce your risk of getting COVID-19. It is especially important for people with certain underlying medical conditions at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and those who live with them, to protect themselves from getting COVID-19.  The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to: Limit your interactions with other people; Wear a mask over your nose and mouth; Stay 6 feet away from others; Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces; Wash your hands often; Clean and disinfect; and Monitor your health daily.

It is especially important for people with certain underlying medical conditions at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and those who live with them, to protect themselves from getting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 is to: Limit your interactions with other people ...

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COVID-19: What to do if You're at Risk

Graphic explaining how to what you should do if you have an underlying medical condition during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have an underlying medical condition, you should continue to follow your treatment plan. Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an extra supply (i.e., more than 30 days) of prescription medicines, if possible, to reduce your trips to the pharmacy. Do not delay getting emergency care for your underlying medical condition because of COVID-19. Emergency departments have contingency infection prevention plans to protect you from getting COVID-19 if you need care. Call your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your underlying medical conditions or if you get sick and think that you may have COVID-19. If you need emergency help, call 911 right away. If you don’t have a healthcare provider, contact your nearest medical treatment facility or clinic.

If you have an underlying medical condition, you should continue to follow your treatment plan. Continue your medicines and do not change your treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider. Have at least a 30-day supply of prescription and non-prescription medicines. Talk to a healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about getting an ...

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Last Updated: September 20, 2023
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