About the Flu
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu seasons are unpredictable and have the potential to impact Department of Defense readiness and mission. Each year in the United States, seasonal influenza kills more than 36,000 people and hospitalizes 200,000 more.
The goal of DoD’s Influenza Vaccination Program is to protect all active duty, National Guard and Reserve personnel, mission-essential civilian personnel, healthcare personnel and Tricare beneficiaries from influenza and related complications.
Everyone 6 months and older should receive an annual flu vaccination. The peak season for flu is usually October through May. Get vaccinated as soon as possible.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year. Other ways to prevent catching and spreading the flu include:
Clean your hands often with soap and warm water or alcohol-based hand cleaners
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough then put used tissue in the waste basket. If a tissue is not available, then sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow, not your hand.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep your distance or stay home if you are sick.
For the 2014-2015 flu season, vaccines will be provided to all service members in Hawaii Sept. 23-26 during a mass vaccination exercise. Please check with your command for more information.
Vaccines will be available to all Tricare beneficiaries in Hawaii starting Sept. 26. The Joint Vaccination Team’s brochure lists when vaccines are available at Oahu military medical treatment facilities, and installation exchanges.
There are several flu vaccine options for the 2014-2015 flu season.
Traditional flu vaccines made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available. In addition, flu vaccines made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines) also are available.
Trivalent flu vaccine protects against two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus.
The types of flu vaccines used by the Department of Defense in Hawaii this year include:
FluZone (quadrivalent): inactivated (single-dose syringe) in
pediatric doses for 6 months to 35 months of age.
Alfuria (trivalent): inactivated (single-dose syringe) for people 9 years and older.
FluMist (quadrivalent): live (single-dose intranasal) for people between 2-49 years old. FluMist is preferred for children aged 2 through 8 years who have no contraindications or precautions to the vaccine.
Fluvirin (trivalent): inactivated (single dose syringe) for persons age 4 years and older.
Flulaval (both trivalent and quadrivalent): inactivated (single dose syringe and multi dose vials) for persons age 3 years and older.
Flucelvax (trivalent): inactivated (single dose syringe) for persons age 18 years and older.
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