The Flu Vaccine Protects You, Your Family, and Your Neighbors
The best way to prevent flu is to get a seasonal influenza vaccine each year. This vaccine protects against the flu, a potentially serious disease. The vaccine can also reduce the severity of flu-related illness.
Flu activity generally begins in November, peaks between December and February, and ends as late as May. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, now is the time to get your TRICARE covered flu vaccine.
Why Get the Vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that millions of people get flu every year. It affects everyone differently. During the 2017-2018 flu season, an estimated 960,000 people in the U.S. were hospitalized, and an estimated 79,000 died due to flu complications.
Who Should Get the Vaccine?
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Some people are more likely to get complications from the flu, which can result in hospitalization or even death. According to the CDC, the groups of people who are more likely to get serious flu-related complications if they get sick with flu include:
- Adults age 65 years and older
- Children younger than 2 years old
- Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
- People with certain health conditions (for example, asthma, heart disease and stroke, diabetes)
Some people shouldn’t get the flu shot, like those with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine or any ingredient in the vaccine. Talk with your health care provider if you have concerns about getting the flu vaccine.
How Can I Get the Vaccine?
You and your family can get the flu vaccineat no cost at a military hospital or clinic, a network pharmacy, or from a TRICARE-authorized provider. It’s best to call ahead to make sure the vaccine is available. The vaccine, when given by a pharmacist at a network pharmacy, is covered by your pharmacy benefit for free.
“You can still go to your primary care manager or TRICARE-authorized providerAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. DS if the pharmacy has restrictions or the flu shot isn’t available,” said Dr. James Black, medical director of the Clinical Support Division at the Defense Health Agency. “If you do, the vaccine will be free, but you may have to pay your copaymentA fixed dollar amount you may pay for a covered health care service or drug. or cost-shareA percentage of the total cost of a covered health care service that you pay. for the office visit.”
If you aren’t sure how to get the flu vaccine, follow your plan’s rules for getting care. You can also download the TRICARE Plans Overview for information about how you get care with your TRICARE plan.
Last Updated 9/1/2020