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Flu vaccine available

Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, receives the influenza vaccine from a 66th Medical Squadron personnel at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass, late 2020. Officials from the 66 MDS recommend personnel receive a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves against illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

Col. Katrina Stephens, installation commander, receives the influenza vaccine from a 66th Medical Squadron personnel at Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass, late 2020. Officials from the 66 MDS recommend personnel receive a flu shot as soon as possible to protect themselves against illness during the COVID-19 pandemic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – The 66th Medical Squadron will be administering the annual influenza vaccine to all eligible TRICARE beneficiaries at the Youth Center here beginning this week.

Eligible individuals can receive the vaccine Wednesday, Jan. 6 from 1 to 3 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 7 from 9 to 11 a.m.; and Friday, Jan. 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The 66 MDS will offer the vaccine at the immunization clinic beginning Monday, Jan. 11 from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on a walk-in basis.  

Please note that if you or a family member you reside with has been told to quarantine or you feel sick, please do not show up during these days, MDS officials emphasize. There will be future time slots offered.

“Receiving a flu vaccine is more important than ever this year during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maj. Stela Striligas, 66 MDS Pharmacy director. “We should all do what we can to stay healthy and lessen the risk of illness.”

Individuals should not wait to receive the flu vaccine in hopes of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine simultaneously, as the two vaccines cannot be given at the same time, said Lt. Col. Angela Riegel, 66 MDS Chief of Medicine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a minimum of 14 days between the two vaccinations to ensure safety and efficacy.

 “The flu can be associated with serious illnesses, hospitalizations and deaths, particularly among people who are high risk due to their age or chronic medical conditions,” said Riegel. “Flu vaccines have a good safety record based on extensive scientific research and years of use, and I highly recommend people receive the flu vaccine to reduce the spread of this dangerous virus”

Additional information about the flu vaccine can be found at www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinesafety.htm.