Skip to main content

Military Health System

Important Notice about Pharmacy Operations

Change Healthcare Cyberattack Impact on MHS Pharmacy Operations. Read the statement to learn more. 

Prevent the Spread of Influenza and COVID-19 Viruses Within Your Community

Image of A person getting an injection on their arm. Before flu season is fully underway and COVID cases rise again, boost your immunity with flu and COVID-19 bivalent boosters. Health officials say vaccination is the best means to protect yourself, families, friends, and communities from the spread of both influenza viruses and COVID-19. Military Health System beneficiaries can get both vaccines at no cost at military, local community health clinics, and participating TRICARE network pharmacies. (Photo: Russell Toof, Medical Readiness Command, Europe)

As families return from summer vacation and students return to school, the influenza (flu) season is approaching while the COVID-19 pandemic is still on-going.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the United States, millions of children get sick with flu like illnesses and thousands of them are hospitalized due to complications from influenza viruses. Also, the risk of complications from the flu virus increases for those 65 years and older.

According to the World Health Organization, there are about 3 to 5 million cases of severe illness annually due to influenza viruses and about 290,000 to 650,000 deaths. While influenza and COVID-19 are both typically considered winter viruses, they can occur at any time.

“In other words, there is an increased risk of infection rate during the winter season compared to any other period in the year,” said U.S. Army Public Health nurse regional consultant Lt. Col. Simeon Smith. “During this winter season, we have to be vigilant to protect our families, friends, communities and ourselves from the spread of both influenza viruses and COVID-19.”

According to health experts, influenza viruses and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses and can affect the upper airway and sometimes the lungs.

“Without being protected by the influenza and COVID vaccines, no one is immune from these viruses,” added Smith.

Health officials warn that being infected with one, or both, of these viruses can cause mild to severe illnesses and could lead to death.

According to Smith, both of these viruses have similar symptoms, and it can be difficult to tell the difference just by looking at or experiencing the symptoms. Smith recommends to consult with a healthcare provider and get tested when you feel sick or display symptoms.

“As we enter into the winter season, it is increasingly important to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves against influenza viruses and COVID-19,” said Smith.

The Food and Drug Administration recently approved COVID-19 vaccine for those who are six months old and above. Studies show that since the development and implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine, there has been a sharp decline in the death rate and hospitalization in the United States and Europe.

According to Smith, the influenza vaccine is an approved seasonal vaccine that is administered every year. TRICARE beneficiaries can contact their military hospital or clinic in order to receive the vaccines.

“There are things we all can do in protecting our family, friends, our communities and ourselves,” said Smith.

Smith offered the following recommended preventive measures to protect families, friends and ourselves:

  • Get vaccinated. Vaccines Save lives.
  • Stay home when you are not feeling well; do not send your child to school or daycare when he or she is feeling sick, consult with your healthcare provider.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water; if water is not available, use alcohol based hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with these viruses.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with tissue or the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.
  • Limit your contact with others when you are sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • When possible, have more outdoor activities instead of indoor activities.

“We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and love ones and limiting the spread of viruses within our schools, work environments and communities,” added Smith.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that individuals should get vaccinated because it is the best protection against the influenza and COVID-19 viruses.

Individuals are encouraged to contact their local military hospital or clinic and arrange to get their flu and COVID-19 vaccines.

You also may be interested in...

Publication
Aug 1, 2022

Whole Health System Approach to Long COVID

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Health Administration is leading an effort to equip health care providers with a Veteran-centered Whole Health System approach to caring for Veterans with Long COVID, also known as post-COVID-19 conditions.

Publication
Oct 21, 2020

Updated Guidance for Performing Temperature Checks at Military MTFs and DTFs

.PDF | 179.18 KB

This guidance is an update to Defense Health Agency Return to Full Operations Concept of Operations, V5.0 (June 12, 2020) as it pertains to temperature checks in MTFs and DTFs. Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), previous guidance directed MTFs to take the temperature of all individuals entering the facility. ...

Publication
Aug 6, 2020

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12) -Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

.PDF | 4.56 MB

This memorandum supplements requirements in references (a), (b), and (c) with respect to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and replaces reference (d). It provides pre- and postĀ­travel guidance for purposes of force health protection (FHP) of Service members, DoD family members, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor personnel.

Publication
Jun 3, 2020

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Continued Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

.PDF | 122.59 KB

TRICARE is announcing the continuation of the temporary exception to policy regarding the use of synchronous telehealth (TH) capabilities (both audio and video) for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Family Adaptive Behavior Treatment Guidance services specifically during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication
May 26, 2020

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

.PDF | 243.02 KB

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Publication
Apr 20, 2020

Modification and Reissuance of DoD Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 -Travel Restrictions

.PDF | 960.08 KB

All DoD Service members will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect. All DoD civilian personnel, and dependents of DoD Service members and DoD civilian personnel, whose travel is Government-funded will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect.

Last Updated: October 30, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery