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...

Medical helps prevent the flu amongst service members through teamwork

Article
2/15/2019
Members of DLA Troop Support Medical supply chain and DLA Distribution pose for a photo at an after action review for the Department of Defense’s Influenza Vaccination Program at Fort Detrick, Maryland Feb. 5, 2019. The Medical supply chain made approximately 3.4 million doses of the influenza vaccine available at military treatment facilities and U.S. Navy Fleet clinics around the world in support of the DOD’s Influenza Vaccination Program. (DoD photo by Alexander Quiñones)

The Medical supply chain made approximately 3.4 million doses of the influenza vaccine available

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations | Combat Support

Vaccination is the best defense against the flu

Article
12/10/2018
Vaccination is the primary method for preventing influenza and its complications and getting an annual influenza vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Erica Knight)

Vaccination is needed every year because the Influenza viruses change

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations

WRAIR begins Phase 1 clinical trial of Marburg vaccine

Article
10/19/2018
The WRAIR study evaluates the VRC-MARADC087-00-VP vaccine, developed by the Vaccine Research Center of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health. (U.S. Army file photo)

WRAIR recently administered the first vaccine in a Phase 1 clinical trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of a Marburg vaccine

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations

Preparing for travel can prevent illness

Article
7/18/2018
Experts encourage overseas travelers to seek advice from a health care provider before leaving on a trip, and to make sure recommended vaccinations are up to date (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. De-Juan Haley)

Experts encourage travelers to be proactive about their travel medicine needs, including learning about the health risks associated with the destination and checking with their doctor to make sure they’re in good health

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Public Health | Immunizations | Summer Safety

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

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

Back to School Health and Safety Checklist

Infographic
8/4/2016
Health and Safety Checklist for Back to School

This infographic provides a going back to school health and safety checklist.

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Children's Health | Immunizations

The HPV Vaccine Saves Lives

Infographic
5/16/2016
The Defense Department recommends male and female military service members, ages 17-26 years, receive an HPV vaccine series to generate a robust immune response to the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4). This graphic highlights information the benefits of the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is most effective among fully vaccinated individuals.   Cancer Prevention Facts •	HPV is the most common sexually  transmitted infection (STI) •	There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas •	Some HPV types give warts •	Some HPV types develop cancer  Effective Against STI Transmission •	The HPV vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect yourself from the virus •	The HPV vaccine provides nearly 100% protection from HPV types 6,11,16 and 18 •	HPV vaccine shows early signs of success in reducing HPV infections and related illnesses •	Protection is expected to be long-lasting  Safety Tips •	Getting your HPV vaccine and practicing safe sex such as wearing a condom may lower the risk of HPV •	Limiting the number of lifetime sex partners can also lower the risk of HPV •	When given the HPV vaccine, the body makes antibodies in response to the protection to clear it from the body  Get the Facts •	2,091 female service members aged 17-26 years received 1-3 HPV4 doses during 2006-2012, stratified by number of doses (1, 2, or 3).  Get the HPV Vaccine •	Only 22.5% of eligible service members initiated the series •	Of those, only 39.1% completed the full three-dose series as of June 2011.  Even though the 3 dose regiment provides nearly complete protection against HPV16 and HPV18, in the U.S., only 12% and 19% of female adolescents among commercial and Medicaid plans respectively complete the series.  Read HPV Facts from the CDC: https://www.ok.gov/health2/documents/IMM_Teens_HPV_Facts.pdf  Read the STI issue of the Medical Surveillance Monthly Report at Health.Mil/MSMR   Get the conversation started. Ask your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine today. Follow us on Twitter @AFHSBPAGE and use hashtag #VaccinesWork.

The Defense Department recommends male and female military service members, ages 17-26 years, receive an HPV vaccine series to generate a robust immune response to the quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV4).

Recommended Content:

Preventive Health | Immunizations | Men's Health | Human Papillomavirus | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Women's Health

Spread the Facts Not Your Germs

Infographic
12/8/2015
Infographic about protecting yourself from the flu

Protect yourself from the flu: Get vaccinated, Wash your hands, Sneeze and cough into your elbow, Stay at home if you're sick

Recommended Content:

Immunizations

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the most common vaccine-preventable cause of encephalitis in Asia

Policy

Individuals deploying to areas in Pacific Command (PACOM) should be administered the JE vaccine in accordance with the latest PACOM Force Health Protection Guidance.

Guidance on Medications for Prophylaxis of Malaria 13-002

Policy

This document provides guidance and best practices for the chemoprophylaxis (use of medication to prevent malaria) of Service members serving in malaria endemic regions.

Guideline for Tuberculosis Screening and Testing

Policy

Because accessions come from widely diverse geographic backgrounds, the Services should determine the need for tuberculin skin tests for accessions while Service members are at the training base, based on the needs of the specific accessions environment and operational mission requirements. DoD will implement targeted testing rather than universal testing where possible, based on Service-specific mission requirements, for recruits and new accessions, HCWs, recent deployers, and Service members who are retiring.

  • Identification #: 00-memo-2012-04-20
  • Date: 4/20/2012
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Immunizations

Routine Smallpox and Anthrax Immunizations Policies

Report
12/15/2010

Defense Health Board: Routine Smallpox and Anthrax Immunizations Policies

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Immunizations | Deployment Health
<< < 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.