It’s that time of year again – flu season. Right now, the 355th Medical Group is administering the flu vaccination to Active Duty and high risk beneficiaries who will be identified by a phone call or letter. Our Immunizations clinic will be open for all beneficiaries to receive the flu vaccine on Nov. 1.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states “flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe.” All family members, six-months and older, should be immunized every year since the flu virus changes slightly season to season, requiring yearly vaccinations. This is especially true for people at high risk of catching the flu or with a risk of flu-related complications, such as children, pregnant women, people ages 65 and older and those with chronic medical conditions such as asthma. A complete list of people at higher risk of complications is available at the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/flu/groups.htm.
Some people worry that flu shots don’t work. It is possible to get the flu, even after getting immunized. There are different strains of the flu virus in circulation, meaning you can be exposed to a version of the virus you’re not immunized against. The flu vaccine does not cause the flu. Some recipients report mild flu-like symptoms, which result from your body producing antibodies that help prevent and fight off the actual flu.
Getting a flu shot is easy and inexpensive for TRICARE beneficiaries. You can get your flu vaccine from a pharmacist at one of 45,000 network pharmacies that administer vaccines to TRICARE beneficiaries. Find a participating pharmacy near you atwww.express-scripts.com/tricare/pharmacy, or by calling Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303.
Generally, if the pharmacist administers the vaccine, it is at no cost to you. If another healthcare professional administers the vaccine, it is a medical visit and you must pay the associated copays.