Can I Get Seasonal Flu Even Though I Got A Flu Vaccine This Year
Yes. There is still a possibility you could get the flu even if you got vaccinated. The ability of flu vaccine to protect a person depends on various factors, including the age and health status of the person being vaccinated, and also the similarity or match between the viruses used to make the vaccine and those circulating in the community. If the viruses in the vaccine and the influenza viruses circulating in the community are closely matched, vaccine effectiveness is higher. If they are not closely matched, vaccine effectiveness can be reduced. However, its important to remember that even when the viruses are not closely matched, the vaccine can still protect many people and prevent flu-related complications. Such protection is possible because antibodies made in response to the vaccine can provide some protection against different but related influenza viruses. For more information about vaccine effectiveness, visit How Well Does the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Work?
Flu Shots With Tricare
Eligible TRICARE enrollees can get flu shots covered by TRICARE. Guidelines for this service include the following TRICARE rules:
- Only vaccines given by a pharmacist are covered by the pharmacy benefit with no cost to the patient.
- If your flu vaccine is administered by a provider at an onsite clinic, it may not be covered. Patients may be required to pay the full expense out-of-pocket.
- You visit your primary care provider to get flu shots if your pharmacy has restrictions or there are no flu shots available. In such cases copayments or cost shares for the office visit may be required.
Getting A Flu Vaccine: Four Steps
Community care flu shots are available to eligible Veterans who:
- Are enrolled in the VA health care system AND
- Received care through VA from either a VA or community provider within the past 24 monthsNOTE: Second requirement is new for 2021-2022 flu season.
To check your eligibility, Veterans can:
Call 800-MyVA411 , select option 1 , then select option 3 , and then option 1 again .NOTE: The system will check your eligibility for the community urgent care benefit, which includes the flu vaccine.
Contact your local VA medical facility.
Veterans can get a flu shot without prior authorization. Flu vaccines provided include standard , high dose, and preservative-free.
NOTE: Family members and beneficiaries are not eligible. State, age and health-related restrictions may apply. Individuals who are not eligible and receive a flu vaccine may be liable for the cost of the vaccine.
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A Flu Shot Is Vital This Year: Why And How To Get One
Are you taking the necessary steps to protect your health this fall? With flu season here and the fight against COVID-19 ongoing, reducing the spread of the flu is more important than ever. The best way to do so is by getting a flu shot.
Getting the flu vaccine this season will help reduce the overall impact of respiratory illnesses on the population and decrease the burden on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Ruth Brenner, deputy chief of the Immunization Healthcare Division at the Defense Health Agency.
Who needs a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccine for people 6 months of age and older. Some people, like those with severe allergies to flu vaccine and its ingredients, shouldnt get a flu shot. Talk to your health care provider to see if its right for you. You can also learn more about who should and shouldnt get a flu vaccine on the CDC website.
Where can I get a flu shot?
TRICARE covers the flu vaccine. You can get a vaccine at no cost in three ways:
- Using a TRICARE-authorized provider
If youre planning to get your flu vaccine at a military hospital or clinic, theres still time, Brenner adds. This vaccine will continue to be available at facilities through the entire flu season.
Stopping the spread of the flu
Flu Shot Timing Is Important
Its not just whether your immune system is ready for flu season. Yes, your protection is enhanced if you get immunized early, according to the Centers for Disease Control. You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community.
Got Your Flu Shot Today? You Arent Safe From the FluYet
The CDC adds that you are NOT protected instantly when you get the injection or other delivery method. Most patients will require about two weeks after vaccination to develop the protective antibodies that will fight the flu virus.
Its important to remember that even with aggressive preventive health you can still be exposed to the flu without knowing it. Why? Because the flu is contagious even before people begin to show symptoms. That means your office colleague or significant other may be infecting you at this very moment even though they dont appear to be ill.
Getting Inoculated Before Flu Season Begins
The standard CDC recommendation is to get flu shots before Halloween.
But getting the flu shot early has another hidden benefit. Those who line up for their shots long before flu season receive the immunization and dont worry about depleted vaccinations at the stores.
Yes, America can experience a shortage of flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control has a page dedicated to tracking and advising consumers of such shortages which are NOT limited to the flu shot.
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How Do Flu Vaccines Work
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses . These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus.
How To Get A Free Flu Shot From The Va
You have to be in the VAs medical system to receive your free flu shot from a VA clinic or hospital. If you are not already in their system, you will need to fill out VA Form 10-10EZ , take it to your local VA medical center, and provide a copy of your DD214 form to prove your military service. After you are in the VAs system, the VA will require you to fill out a standard health questionnaire, and then you can get your shot. Its that easy.
For more information about getting a free flu shot from the VA, contact your local VA facility.
Note: The VA only provides flu shots to veterans. It does not provide flu shots to the veterans family members.
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Can The Flu Vaccine Give Me The Flu
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been inactivated and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all . The nasal spray flu vaccine does contain live viruses. However, the viruses are attenuated , and therefore cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.
While a flu vaccine cannot give you flu illness, there are different side effects that may be associated with getting a flu shot or a nasal spray flu vaccine. These side effects are mild and short-lasting, especially when compared to symptoms of bad case of flu.
The flu shot: The viruses in the flu shot are killed , so you cannot get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are:
- Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
The nasal spray: The viruses in the nasal spray vaccine are weakened and do not cause severe symptoms often associated with influenza illness. In children, side effects from the nasal spray may include:
- Runny nose
Are You An Active Duty Or Guard/reserve Member
Youre required to get the flu vaccine.
- You have priority to get the vaccine at military hospitals and military clinics.
- You can also get vaccines at participating retail network pharmacies.
If you go to a participating network pharmacy, you won’t have any cost-shares or copayments if the flu vaccine is administered by a pharmacist. You can also go to a TRICARE-authorized provider at a participating network onsite clinic.
If you go to a network doctor other than your primary care manager , you must get a referral from your PCM. In addition, you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for the office visit.
When you get a flu vaccine from a participating network pharmacy, follow your Service policy guidance for recording the vaccine in your shot record. You’ll need the following information:
- The date the vaccine was given
- The vaccine name or code
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Military Hospital Or Clinic
- Active duty service members have priority
- If not available stateside at your military hospital or clinic, you can seek the flu vaccine at a participating network provider 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 not available overseas at your military hospital or clinic, you can seek the flu vaccine by:
- If you’re an active duty service member, you need to follow your unit chain of command and service guidance for recording the vaccine in your service medical record
Dont Qualify For The Free Va Flu Shot Try These Tips
If you have family members how do not qualify for the free flu shots, try these tips for free and inexpensive flu shots:
- Many insurance companies provide free or reduced immunizations. Check your policy to see if you are eligible.
- Some local hospitals and clinics charge as little as $10-20 per shot. Check with your local community for more information.
- Grocery stores, drug stores and retailers that see a lot of foot traffic offer customers a way to get inexpensive flu shots. This is a great way for them to increase their traffic, and the stores management knows that when people come for a flu shot, they are also likely to shop for other goods.
- Many employers provide free or discounted flu shots to their workers.
- Some airports now offer flu shots as a way to reach travelers.
Flu season is fast approaching. Dont forget to immunize yourself!
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Va Partnership With Retail Pharmacies And Urgent Care Clinics
Not all veterans have easy access to VA medical centers. This is why the VA partnered with more than 60,000 in-network retail pharmacies and urgent care clinics to provide flu vaccinations to veterans who are currently enrolled in the VA health care system. Eligible veterans can visit participating locations to receive a vaccination at no cost.
No appointment or VA referral is required.
If youre eligible, simply go to an in-network retail pharmacy or urgent care location and present a valid, government-issued identification such as a Veterans Identification Card, Department of Defense ID card, state-issued drivers license or ID card to receive your flu shot. Eligible veterans can receive a no-cost, standard-dose or high-dose flu shot.
What Should I Do If I Get Sick
Common flu symptoms may include fever or chills, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headache and fatigue/tiredness. If you have flu symptoms and are in a high risk group, contact your healthcare provider. If you are not in a high risk group but have symptoms, get plenty of rest and drink fluids, manage symptoms with Over-the-counter medications when appropriate.
OTC medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can be used to treat fever, headache, body aches, and sore throat.
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Who Should Get Vaccinated This Season
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This recommendation has been in place since voted for universal flu vaccination in the United States to expand protection against the flu to more people.
Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.
More information is available at Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza.
Are You Prepared For Flu Season Let Tricare Help
Washing your hands frequently
Covering your cough or sneeze
Avoiding contact with your nose, eyes, or mouth
Avoiding people who are sick
Staying home if you have flu-like symptoms
Protect yourself and those around you by getting a flu vaccine. Take command of your health with TRICARE, and learn how you can get the flu vaccine.
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Who Should Not Be Vaccinated
CDC recommends use of the flu shot and the recombinant influenza vaccine . Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. Factors that can determine a persons suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a persons age, health and any allergies to flu vaccine or its components.
What Is In Your Flu Shot
Do you know whats in your flu shot and how it works to prevent infections of the influenza virus?
- The flu vaccine is an inactivated vaccine that contains a dead virus.
- The flu shot helps your body develop protective antibodies that can help prevent infection.
- The flu shot is strongly recommended for all age groups starting at six months to 64 years old.
- Some providers may offer a high dose flu shot intended for patients aged 65 years and older.
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What Are The Side Effects Of The Flu Vaccine
Common side effects of the flu vaccine include: soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea, and muscle aches.
Less common side effects may include: fainting, Guillain-Barre syndrome , and allergic reactions.
Egg Allergy: Eggs are used in the production of some flu vaccines. Those who experience only hives after eating eggs or egg-containing products may still receive any flu vaccine formulation appropriate for their age and health status. Those with a more severe egg allergy should only receive a flu shot in a medical facility that is prepared to handle a severe allergic reaction .
How Tricare Covers The Flu Vaccine
With all the talk about COVID and its vaccine, flu season may not be on your radar.
Normally, MOAA is on the road in the fall as we brief at the annual Retiree Appreciation Days on your local bases. These RADs typically provide annual flu shots to participants. With RADs on many installations postponed, its possible you may forget about your flu shot.
Flu infections were relatively light in 2020 due to COVID-related precautions. Some medical authorities predict the flu will rebound this year. This might make a flu shot a higher priority on your schedule.
TRICARE typically covers the flu vaccine at no cost. You have three options to get the shot.
- At a military hospital or clinic.
- At a participating TRICARE retail network pharmacy. If you get your flu vaccine at a TRICARE retail network pharmacy, the pharmacist must administer the vaccine for it to be covered by TRICARE. Search online or call 1-877-363-1303 to find your retail network pharmacy.
- Using a TRICARE-authorized medical provider. If you go to your doctor for the vaccine, youll pay your deductible and/or cost share for the office visit under TRICARE Select or Prime. Medicare/TRICARE For Life costs are covered by your TFL supplement. Use the pharmacy instead of your doctor if possible.
Do not use non-network pharmacies or doctors, or you could pay much more.
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Why Do I Need A Flu Vaccine Every Year
A flu vaccine is needed every season for two reasons. First, the bodys immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated annually.
When Should I Get Vaccinated
Flu vaccination should begin soon after vaccine becomes available, if possible by October. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even in January or later. While seasonal influenza outbreaks can happen as early as October, during most seasons influenza activity peaks in January or later. Since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against influenza virus infection, it is best that people get vaccinated so they are protected before influenza begins spreading in their community.
Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, and the timing of availability depends on when production is completed. Shipments began in August and will continue throughout October and November until all vaccine is distributed.