U.S. Army aiming to exceed 90% flu vaccination rate by mid- January


FILE – In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, file photo, a patient receives an influenza vaccine in Mesquite, Texas. New government data suggests more Americans have been getting flu shots in 2020, apparently heeding the advice of health officials fearful of a flu/coronavirus double pandemic. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

(WWTI) — Officials from the Department of Defense are encouraging service members to receive their annual flu vaccination sooner, rather than later.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all should be vaccinated for the flu by the end of October. However, annual flu vaccinations are required for all U.S. military members. According to the Tricare newsroom, each sector of the military has its own vaccination goal deadlines.

Both the U.S. Navy and the Air Force hold seasonal goals to exceed a 90% vaccination rate by December 15. This includes all active and reserve personnel.

For the U.S. Army, its goal is to exceed a 90% vaccination rate by January 15. This also includes vaccinations among all active and reserve component personnel.

As flu season has technically begun, and it usually peaks in December through February, health experts are warning that this year’s season could pose new risks as COVID-19 outbreaks are also continuing.

Experts stated that although flu vaccines do not prevent COVID-19, they can reduce the burden of flu illnesses and hospitalizations and can conserve scarce medical resources. Health experts also said that the flu vaccine can lessen the chance of having a severe case of the virus.

Flu shots are currently available nationwide. This year, health experts stated that there are no shortages of the vaccine. Doses began arriving at military hospitals in August and will continue to arrive on a rolling basis through November. The vaccine is also available at most general health providers, public health offices and pharmacies in the North Country.

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