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Flu vaccines become available

Brig. Gen. David Harris, the 96th Test Wing commander, receives his annual flu vaccination Sept. 19 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.  A mass influenza vaccination line for military members only is scheduled for Oct. 15 – 18 at the 413th Flight Test Squadron auditorium, building 439 (formerly the 9th SOS Auditorium) from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The auditorium is located on West F Avenue, across from the library on the East side of the base.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

Brig. Gen. David Harris, the 96th Test Wing commander, receives his annual flu vaccination Sept 19, 2013 at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla. A mass influenza vaccination line for military members only is scheduled for Oct. 6-9 at the 413th Flight Test Squadron auditorium, building 439 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be on a first-come, first-served basis. The auditorium is located on West F Avenue, across from the library on the East side of the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Kevin Gaddie)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Influenza (flu) vaccine will be available beginning Oct. 14 for all eligible beneficiaries at the Eglin Immunization Clinic and Eglin primary care clinics during regular operating hours.

Since influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, everyone is encouraged to get immunized early. Influenza activity typically peaks in January or thereafter.

A mass influenza vaccination line for Active Duty only is scheduled for Oct. 6-9 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Oct. 10 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the 413th Flight Test Squadron Auditorium and will be on a first-come first-served basis.  The auditorium is located on West F Avenue, across from the library on the east side of the base.

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 Eglin 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. For additional information on this TRICARE benefit go here.

Influenza, commonly referred to as "the flu," is a highly contagious viral infection of the nose, throat and lungs. Influenza occurs most often in the late fall, winter and early spring, so peak occurrences are just around the corner.

Seasonal influenza epidemics occur annually in the United States.  Estimates of influenza-related events include 95 million infections, 25 million physician visits, 200,000 hospitalizations, and on average, 36,000 deaths annually.

Immunization is the key to influenza prevention and is recommended for everyone six-months of age and older. There are two ways to receive the influenza vaccine: the "flu shot" and the nasal-spray flu vaccine or "FluMist".  The two vaccines do not differ significantly in their effectiveness. This flu season, Eglin Hospital will offer a trivalent (three strain coverage) and quadrivalent (four strain coverage) injectable flu vaccine. FluMist nasal vaccine continues to cover four strains of flu. High dose flu vaccine for persons 65 years and up is available and covered at Tricare network pharmacies. The influenza vaccine protects against the 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 their physician.

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