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Should I get the flu vaccination this year?

An influenza vaccination is administered to an Airman at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Oct. 24. A dose of flu vaccine is recommended every flu season, and children six months through 8 years old may need two doses during the same flu season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II)

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. When the vaccine becomes available, the 75th Medical Group Immunization Clinic will begin focusing their efforts on vaccinating the base active duty population. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. J.D. Strong II)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Influenza, or “the flu,” is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses.  Symptoms of the flu include fever or feeling feverish, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and possibly vomiting and diarrhea.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that influenza results in 9.3 to 49 million illnesses, 140,000 to 960,000 hospitalizations, and 12,000 to 79,000 deaths annually. 

Why should I get vaccinated every year?

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.  Flu viruses are constantly changing.  The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match projected circulating flu viruses.  These vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be the most common. 

When can I get vaccinated?

When the vaccine becomes available, Military Medical Clinics will begin focusing their efforts on vaccinating the base active duty population.  Active duty members will soon be showing “due” for the influenza vaccine; however, members showing due will not affect unit Individual Medical Readiness rates until Jan. 1, 2021.  The CDC recommends seasonal influenza vaccine for all people 6 months of age and older.  Special efforts will be made to vaccinate those at high risk from influenza complications to include pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, adults 65 years and older, and those with certain medical conditions.