Back to Top Skip to main content

Immunizations

Vaccines are the main reason for the global eradication of naturally occurring smallpox, and near-eradication of polio and measles in the United States. Vaccines are important tools that:

  • Protect individual health and the overall health of a population.
  • Protect against disease infection and preserve medical readiness
  • Prime the immune system to fight off viruses, bacteria and other threats.

When disease cells invade the body, they attack and multiply. This invasion is called an infection, and the infection is what causes illness. The immune system then has to fight the infection. Once it fights off the infection, the body is left with a supply of cells that help recognize and fight that disease in the future.

How Vaccines Work

Vaccines develop similar immunity without ever presenting an infection, by introducing weakened or dead disease cells into the body that cause the immune system to develop the same response it does by infection. You may have minor side effects, such as:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea

Most side effects subside within 24-48 hours and are part of the normal process of building immunity. More serious reactions can occur, but are extremely rare.

Immunization health is a lifelong process – from conception to the golden years, with specific vaccines and schedules indicated for all age-specific populations.  >>View CDC Recommendations

The military, which has historically played a major role in advancing vaccination science, offers an immunization regimen that often leads to greater protection against more diseases for Service members and their families.  Service Members and their families should always consult with their physicians to ensure they receive the appropriate vaccinations at the appropriate times.

You also may be interested in...

Department of Defense Global, Laboratory-based Influenza Surveillance Program’s Influenza vaccine effectiveness estimates and surveillance trends, 2016 – 2017 Influenza Season

Infographic
2/5/2018
Each year, the Department of Defense (DoD) Global, Laboratory-based Influenza Surveillance Program performs surveillance for influenza among service members of the DoD and their dependent family members. In addition to routine surveillance, vaccine effectiveness (VE) studies are performed and results are shared with the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization for vaccine evaluation. This report documents the annual surveillance trends for the 2016 – 2017 influenza season and the end-of-season VE results. The analysis was performed by the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine Epidemiology Laboratory, and the DoD Influenza Surveillance Program staff at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH. FINDINGS: A total of 5,555 specimens were tested from 84 locations: •	2,486 (44.7%) negative •	1,382 (24.9%) influenza A •	1,093 (19.7%) other respiratory pathogens •	443 (8.0%) influenza B •	151 (2.7%) co-infections The predominant influenza strain was A (H3N2), representing 73.8% of all circulating influenza. Pie chart displays this information. Graph showing the numbers and percentages of respiratory specimens positive for influenza viruses, and numbers of influenza viruses identified, by type, by surveillance week, Department of Defense healthcare beneficiaries, 2016 – 2017 influenza season displays. The vaccine effectiveness (VE) for this season was slightly lower than for the 2015 – 2016 season, which had a 63% (95% confidence interval: 53% - 71%) adjusted VE. The adjusted VE for the 2016 – 2017 season was 48% protective against all types of influenza.  Access the full report in the January 2018 MSMR (Vol. 25, No. 1). Go to: www.Health.mil/MSMR

This infographic documents the annual surveillance trends for the 2016 – 2017 influenza season and the end-of-season vaccine effectiveness.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Influenza Summary and Reports | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Influenza Seasonal | Immunizations | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Force Health Protection

Cold and influenza season is underway – and it’s nothing to ‘shake off’

Article
1/12/2018
Cold and flu season usually runs from October to March, and peaks between December and February. Young children, adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, and people with chronic medical conditions have a higher risk for complications. Military Health System experts encourage everyone to take steps to prevent these viral illnesses from spreading. (U.S. Army photo by photo by Rachel Larue)

Military Health System experts share advice on how to prevent, treat, and distinguish between these two viral illnesses

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Preventive Health | Immunizations | Children's Health

Don’t give flu a fighting chance; get the flu shot

Article
10/10/2017
Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Gerich Curtom (left), administers a flu shot to Builder 2nd Class Charles Scheck at Naval Air Station North Island’s medical clinic. There are many different strains of flu virus, and they can often mutate quickly, presenting a challenge in keeping everyone healthy and maintaining optimal immunity, and making it necessary to get immunized annually. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean P. Lenahan)

Influenza presents a disease threat almost every year, and annual immunization continues to be the best way to avoid that threat

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare | Influenza Seasonal

Mentorship creates unique comradery, opportunities for African Americans

Article
2/27/2017
Dr. Limone C. Collins, Jr., Chief of Vaccine Safety and Evaluation, Immunization Healthcare Branch, Public Health Division, Defense Health Agency (U.S. Army photo by Joseph Palgutt)

Dr. Limone Collins Jr, Chief of Vaccine Safety and Evaluation, Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Branch (DHA-IHB), has served the United States for more than 40 years, in the Army and now as a DoD civilian

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations

One Health concept highlights collaboration as key

Article
1/24/2017
Given its nature and the potential for pandemics, flu is of particular concern regarding Force Health Protection and global health. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Esteven Baca, from the immunizations department at Naval Hospital Pensacola, administers a flu shot to Lt. Alison Malloy, Staff Judge Advocate for the Center for Information Warfare Training. (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Taylor L. Jackson)

Experts, including those at the Defense Health Agency’s Public Health Division, are integrating human medicine, animal health and environmental science to prevent and treat the flu, as well as other serious public health threats

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Veterinary Service | Public Health

Immunization research supports warrior care, force readiness

Article
1/10/2017
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Brett Friebel prepares a flu shot for a patient at Naval Branch Health Clinic Mayport’s immunizations clinic. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel)

How DHA’s Immunization Healthcare Branch supports Warrior Care

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations | Warrior Care

Preventive Services for Prime Beneficiaries

Video
1/3/2017
Preventive Services for Prime Beneficiaries

This TRICARE TV Episode discusses TRICARE's preventive health benefits for TRICARE Prime Beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Operation Live Well | Integrative Wellness | Heart Health | Immunizations | Men's Health | Children's Health | TRICARE Health Program | Preventive Health | Women's Health

Recently approved cholera vaccine available for use in the U.S.

Article
12/29/2016
Cholera vaccinations via injection were routine for service members. Now, An FDA-approved vaccine is available for use in the United States for travelers going to cholera-affected areas. Vaxchora, which received its FDA license in 2016, is a single dose oral vaccine that contains live attenuated cholera bacteria. Cholera is a disease that is often transmitted through contaminated food or water. (U.S. Army Photo by Dustin Senger)

Cholera, a disease often found in contaminated food and water, affects an estimated five million people a year around the world. Now a vaccine to help protect against the disease is available to U.S. travelers going to cholera-affected areas.

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Cholera | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Drive-Thru Flu Shots

Photo
12/21/2016
Medical staff at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia, immunized nearly 1,200 people recently with their drive-through flu vaccination event. (U.S. Army photo by John Corley)

Medical staff at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia, immunized nearly 1,200 people recently with their drive-through flu vaccination event. (U.S. Army photo by John Corley)

Recommended Content:

Immunizations

Mass immunization event reaches thousands

Article
12/21/2016
Medical staff at Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, Georgia, immunized nearly 1,200 people recently with their drive-through flu vaccination event. (U.S. Army photo by John Corley)

The medical staff at Eisenhower Army Medical Center has been doing a mass immunization event for the past 10 years, and has shown the capability to immunize up to 75 percent of the installation population in a single day

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare

DoD will conduct flu immunization program without FluMist

Article
10/12/2016
Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Carly Marcum, administers an influenza vaccination to a Sailor aboard USS John C. Stennis. This flu season, the DoD’s entire supply of flu vaccine will be injectable. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Cole C. Pielop)

The intranasal flu vaccine known as FluMist will not be available at DoD facilities or covered by TRICARE during the 2016-17 influenza season because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against using it this year

Recommended Content:

Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare

What the experts want you to know about the HPV vaccine

Article
10/6/2016
About 80 million people are infected with HPV right now in the United States. Vaccines are currently available for both males and females to help prevent the virus, which can be linked to various cancers, such as cervical cancer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin W. Stratton)

HPV is a virus that can be linked to a range of health issues, including cervical cancer. Immunization experts are encouraging people to learn more about the vaccines that help prevent this often undetected virus

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Children's Health | Immunizations | Immunization Healthcare

Army prepares to administer 1.6 million flu shots

Article
9/1/2016
Army Pvt. Jonathan Bowen (left), health care specialist with the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, provides an influenza vaccination to another Soldier.

The goal is to immunize with flu shots at least 90 percent of service members and health care professionals by Dec. 15, 2016

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations | Preventive Health

Immunization experts to adults: Vaccines are ‘not just for kids’

Article
8/19/2016
While it’s well known the good immunizations do, there are three vaccines of particular importance for military service members and their families. Military Health System officials want people to be more aware of vaccines for meningitis, the flu and shingles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ridge Shan)

Immunization experts talk about the benefits of adult immunizations for flu, meningitis and shingles

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Preventive Health | Immunizations

Immunization Healthcare Branch website moves to Health.mil

Article
8/17/2016
The DHA Immunization Healthcare Branch website has moved from www.vaccines.mil to www.health.mil/vaccines, which contains a wealth of immunization resources and information that aims to assist in achieving excellence in immunization healthcare.

The DHA Immunization Healthcare Branch website has moved from www.vaccines.mil to www.health.mil/vaccines,

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.