Get Your Flu Shot for Free with TRICARE
If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, it’s not too late. Military hospitals and clinics are receiving the remainder of their annual flu vaccines now. If you don’t normally get your care at a military hospital or clinic, remember you can still get your flu shot for free in other ways. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older gets a flu vaccine annually.
“The military hospitals and clinics will receive the remainder of their flu vaccine orders over the next two to three weeks,” said Army Lt. Col. Christopher Ellison, deputy director of operations for the Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division. “It’s never too late to get your flu shot. 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.”
Where can you get your flu shot with TRICARE?
You can get the flu shot for free in three ways:
- At your military hospital or clinic. You should call ahead to make sure it’s available. Active duty service members have priority.
- At a TRICARE participating network pharmacy. You can find one by searching online or calling 1-877-363-1303. You should call the pharmacy first to ask when you can get the vaccine, and who gives the vaccine. Remember, only vaccines administered by a pharmacist at a participating network pharmacy or a 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 at a participating network onsite clinic are covered.
- From a TRICARE-authorized network provider. You may have to pay your copayment or cost-share for the office visit.
If you choose to get your flu shot from a TRICARE non-network provider or non-network pharmacy, deductible and cost-shares may apply based on your TRICARE plan. You may also have to pay out of pocket and file a claim for reimbursement.
You can get the flu shot for free at your local military hospital or clinic. You can also get the flu shot at no cost in the following ways:
- Get a referral from your military hospital or clinic provider, and an authorization from the TRICARE overseas contractor. Then see a civilian TRICARE-authorized provider for a flu shot.
- Visit a civilian TRICARE-authorized provider without a referral for a flu shot. You’ll pay up front, and then submit a claim with the overseas contractor for reimbursement.
If you’re an active duty service member or National Guard or Reserve member, you’re required to get the flu vaccine. You must get a referral from your primary care manager (PCM) to get the vaccine from any provider other than your PCM. After you get the vaccine, follow your unit chain of command and service guidance for recording the vaccine in your service medical record.
Why should you get a flu shot?
According to the CDC, a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Benefits of getting the flu vaccine include reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and the risk of flu-related death. So, take action to protect yourself and others from respiratory illnesses, like flu and COVID-19. If you have concerns about getting the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor.
“Flu is unpredictable, and the season in the U.S. is typically October through May,” Ellison explained. “Seasonal flu disease usually peaks between December and March, but disease can occur as late as May.”
Take command of your health, and get a flu shot. To learn more about where to go to get your flu shot, visit Flu Vaccine on the TRICARE website.
Last Updated 10/14/2021