Skip to main content

Military Health System

COVID-19, Influenza provide twice the challenge to healthcare workers

Image of Military personnel wearing a face mask while holding hand sanitizer. Navy Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Mae Larimer, assigned to Navy Medicine Readiness Training Unit Bangor helps patients and visitors at the medical clinic to daily mitigate any potential spread of the ongoing pandemic outbreak as well as seasonal influenza virus. (Photo by Douglas Stutz.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

It’s a double whammy that public health experts across the country had indicated could happen.

The ongoing pandemic outbreak has overlapped with the annual Northern Hemisphere influenza season.

Military medical treatment facilities like Naval Hospital Bremerton/Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command (NMRTC) Bremerton in Washington are at the fore to help eradicate the pandemic as well as prevent and protect patients from the flu.

Defense Health Agency officials had indicated in early December 2020, that Influenza-Like-Illness (ILI) does tend to peak during the winter months, which has been the case in the Pacific Northwest the last few years.

The Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended in October, 2020, that 65% of adults and children be vaccinated against the flu because of the potential simultaneous demand on healthcare systems due to COVID-19 and the flu. In recognition of that goal, DHA established a goal to meet or exceed the 65% flu vaccination rate toward the end of December2020.

Towards that goal, NMRTC Bremerton continues to provide flu vaccinations to all eligible beneficiaries, along with following the Department of Defense distribution plan for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to all active duty and reserve components, TRICARE Prime and TRICARE SelectTRICARE Select is a self-managed, preferred provider network plan. TRICARE Select is a fee-for-service option in the United States that allows you to get care from any TRICARE-authorized provider.  Enrollment is required to participate.TRICARE Select beneficiaries, and select DOD civilians and contract personnel authorized to receive immunizations from DOD.

During NMRTC Bremerton’s 2020-2021 seasonal influenza campaign, over 2,250 flu shots were administered, including a staff pandemic influenza drill that immunized approximately 750 staff members in less than 72 hours. A weeklong clinic inoculated more than 2,000 patients, and preventive medicine personnel conducted workplace flu clinics for several tenant shore commands in the region.

Yet there are still those who have not received their flu shot, as well as those who have not voluntarily been administered the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to NMRTC Bremerton public health experts, even if someone has neglected to get their flu shot, they still have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There is not a contraindication to receiving a COVID and Influenza vaccine at the same time per DHA guidance. However, we recommend at least three days of separation between the two to ensure side effects of flu vaccine are not confused with side effects of the COVID vaccine, or vice versa,” explained Dr. Dan Frederick, NHB/NMRTC Bremerton population health officer and public health emergency officer.

Frederick noted that healthcare workers in any hospital setting are considered to be at high risk of becoming infected with influenza and passing the infection to others, a similar concern with the COVID-19 virus.

“We strongly encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine. It’s now more important than ever due to the ongoing pandemic,” said Frederick, echoing CDC concerns.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 and influenza are both contagious respiratory illnesses, albeit each caused by infection from a different virus.

Influenza viruses cause mild to severe illness, whereas COVID-19 has caused serious illness in many, resulting in more than 500,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. It can also take longer for someone to show they actually have symptoms of COVID-19.

Similar symptoms between the two include fever and/or chills, shortness of breath or difficult breathing, fatigue, sore throat, runny/stuffy nose, muscle pain/body ache, headache, and even vomiting/diarrhea.

It also can take at least one or more days after someone is infected by either virus to begin to experience any illness symptoms mentioned above. While it usually takes longer for COVID-19 symptoms to develop.

There’s similarities in even unintentionally sharing either viruses. For both, it’s possible to spread the virus during a 24-hour period before experiencing any symptoms, even longer for someone with COVID-19.

Military health personnel wearing a face mask and shield while holding a needle
NHB/NMRTC Bremerton’s Immunization Clinic staff, like Navy Hospitalman Justmin Lambatin, routinely provide patient-centered support with the administration of vaccines – from influenza to COVID-19. (Photo by Douglas Stutz.)

Both viruses can be spread and shared from person to person, especially between those in close contact – six feet or less - with each other. Both are shared by droplets that occur when someone with the illness coughs, sneezes, or talks. The droplets spray out and land on someone else and get inhaled into their lungs. A person can also get physically infected by shaking hands, touching a handrail or door knob that has the virus on it and then touching their own nose, eyes or mouth.

Both are hidden. They can be spread by someone not knowing they have either due to no symptoms apparent, or having mild symptoms, and even by those who never develop symptoms – asymptomatic.

Those who are at high risk - such as older adults, people with underlying medical conditions and those who are pregnant - can become severely sick by both viruses and possibly deal with a host of complications such as pneumonia, respiratory failure, and the worsening of chronic medical conditions.

Frederick, attests that immunization is a primary method of reducing seasonal influenza illness, along with helping to eliminate the pandemic.

There are also multiple steps for everyone to follow that can be done daily to mitigate the potential spread of both viruses. One of the most effective is hand washing; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; avoid close contact with sick people and maintain social distancing of at least six feet; cover cough/sneezes and discard used tissues and wash hands immediately afterwards; cover your nose and mouth with a face mask when around others; and clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily.

Using a football analogy, Frederick stressed that with the COVID-19 vaccine being administered, “for ten months we’ve been playing defense against this virus. Now it feels like we’re finally on the offense.”

You also may be interested in...

Military Health System Marks 1-Year Anniversary for COVID Vaccinations

Article
12/14/2021
FEmale Marine gets COVID 19 vaccination in left  arm at Camp LeJeune in December 2020

More than 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered a year after first shots within MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

So others may breathe - Navy Medicine Respiratory Therapist cares for COVID casualties

Article Around MHS
12/13/2021
Military Health personnel posing for a picture

Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tessa Hazard, a respiratory therapist, recently deployed to Alabama as a member of a COVID-19 response team.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Army Public Health Center provides update on Long COVID risks

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
COVID19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

JTF Coyote begins pediatric COVID-19 clinics as adult booster vaccination numbers increase

Article Around MHS
11/23/2021
Military health personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The Vermont National Guard now supports the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccinations for youth in the 5 to 11 age group and booster clinics for the general adult population.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness & Combat Support | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Vaccine for Children TLDR

Infographic
11/4/2021
Vaccine for Children TLDR

Vaccination is our best defense against the spread of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccines for Children

Vax Facts for Children

Infographic
11/4/2021
Vax Facts for Children

Should Young Children Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Yes. The CDC recommends that children ages 5-11 receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccines for Children

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination Attestation, Screening Testing, and Vaccination Verification

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the implementation of vaccination, attestation, and testing requirements in accordance with the References listed in Attachment 1 to reduce the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Pregnancy Health Alert: COVID-19 Vaccine is Strongly Recommended

Article
10/20/2021
Pregnant women gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Get vaccinated for COVID-19 if you’re pregnant or trying, DOD and CDC and advise.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Women's Health

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

USECAF receives insight into COVID19 vaccinations at Reserve wing

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021.

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing here to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

Article Around MHS
10/6/2021
A  female doctor poses for a photo.

When pregnant patients have an appointment with Lt. Cmdr. Megan Northup at Naval Hospital Bremerton, they get more than a qualified and caring OB/GYN physician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

COVID-19 Booster Shots are Now Available – What You Need to Know

Article
9/30/2021
Containers of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Each vial contains six doses for vaccination against the COVID-19 virus.

Booster shots are now recommended for millions of people – but many others will have to wait for additional approvals.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < ... 6 7 8 9 10  ... > >> 
Showing results 76 - 90 Page 6 of 32
Refine your search
Last Updated: March 31, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery