Influenza season begins, vaccines available

  • Published
  • By Maj. Joseph Forester
  • Eglin Allergy Clinic
A mass influenza vaccination line for active duty and Eglin civilian government employees is scheduled for Sept. 26-29 from 6 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the 9th Special Operations Squadron Auditorium and will be on a first-come first-serve basis. The auditorium is located on West F Avenue, across from the library on the East side of the base.

The influenza (flu) vaccine is now available at the Eglin Immunization Clinic and Eglin primary care clinics during regular operating hours. While influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, typically influenza activity peaks in January or later. So everyone is encouraged to get immunized early.

The influenza vaccine is mandatory for active duty and reserve military members and they should receive the immunization through a military treatment facility. Other Tricare beneficiaries (dependents and retirees) can receive the seasonal flu vaccine at the immunization clinic, primary care clinics and without a prescription and with no out-of-pocket expense at Tricare retail network pharmacies.

This coverage is available to all Tricare beneficiaries eligible to use the Tricare retail pharmacy benefit. You are encouraged to call your local Tricare retail network pharmacy to ensure availability and participation in the vaccine program and that the pharmacy will administer vaccine to children, if needed. To locate a participating retail network pharmacy, go to or call Express Scripts at 877-363-1303.

New for this year is the availability of the influenza vaccine to the AFMC civilian work force. The new AFMC civilian workforce influenza vaccine program will be run on a first-come, first-serve basis. The two locations where AFMC civilian workers can receive the influenza vaccine are the immunization clinic during regular operating hours and at the mass influenza vaccination line in September.

Immunization is the key to seasonal influenza prevention and is recommended for everyone six-months old and older. There are two ways to receive the influenza vaccine: the "flu shot" and the nasal-spray flu vaccine or "Flu mist." Both are equally effective.

The influenza vaccine protects against three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The viruses in the vaccine change each year based on international surveillance and scientists' estimations about which types and strains of viruses will circulate in a given year.

For people who have a severe egg allergy, have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination and people who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician. Additionally, people who have a moderate-to-severe illness with a fever should wait until they recover before getting vaccinated.