TRICARE Flu Resources
Seasonal Influenza (the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu symptoms spread person-to-person through coughing, sneezing and personal contact. >>Learn more about the flu.
Preventing the Flu
Getting vaccinated every year is the best way to prevent the flu, but you can also take steps to stop the spread of the flu daily. Wash your hands with warm soap and water and use a hand sanitizer if you are unable to wash your hands. You should avoid contact with your nose and mouth if you're sneezing. Stay home if you're sick and avoid contact with others who may have the flu. >>Learn more about preventing the flu.
It's recommended that all beneficiaries get vaccinated, but some people are at a higher risk for serious illness if infected. Two forms of influenza vaccine are distributed in the U.S., and both are covered by TRICARE:
- The flu shot is an injectable, inactivated vaccine that contains a killed virus and can be used in all age groups 6 months and older and is recommended for ages 6 months to 64 years. There is also a high dose vaccine intended for beneficiaries aged 65 years and older.
- Flu mist is an intranasal spray made with live, weakened influenza viruses; limited to use in people who are between the ages of 2 and 49 years, and who are not pregnant at the time they receive the vaccine.
You can get the flu vaccine at no cost from any of the following locations:
Be sure to call the military hospitals or clinic, doctor's office or network pharmacy for the days and times the flu vaccine is available and the age range served at that location. Certain states have restrictions for pharmacies administering vaccinations to children. When calling ahead, please ask your pharmacy if there are any restrictions. If your state has a restriction, please consider visiting a military hospitals or clinic or have your primary care physician administer the vaccination to your child.
If visiting a participating network pharmacy, call the pharmacy first to:
- verify the days and times you can come in for a vaccine.
- see if there are any restrictions.
- make sure the pharmacy has the vaccine you need as some, such as shingles, may be in short supply.
- make sure a pharmacist gives the vaccines and not a provider from an in-pharmacy clinic to avoid potential cost shares or copayments.
Uniformed Service Members
You are required to be immunized, and you have priority for getting the flu vaccine at military hospitals and clinics. You may also get the vaccine at a participating network pharmacy. If you do, follow your Service policy guidance for recording the vaccine in your shot record by the close of business the next duty day. Be sure to get this information from the participating network pharmacy when you receive your flu vaccine:
- Patient Identification
- The date the vaccine was given
- The vaccine name or code
- Lot number