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Getting ready for flu season

Where to get the flu shot and how to protect yourself?

All Madigan Army Medical Center staff receive the flu vaccine. Capt. Rochelle Castro, Army Public Health Nurse administers a flu shot to Jodee Deardorff-Roberson, Army Public Health Nurse. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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The Madigan Army Medical Center Annual Flu Shot Drive will take place Nov. 19-21, and Nov. 26-30, from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the lower level of Medical Mall at Madigan. "This year all vaccine formulations purchased by the Department of Defense (DoD) are the quadra-valent vaccine which includes four strains of the virus instead of three," said LTC (Dr.) Rodd Marcum, Chief, Preventative Medicine. The DoD did not purchase the flu mist.

"The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends everyone over six months of age should get an annual flu shot," said Jodee Deardorff-Roberson, Army Public Health Nurse. As Madigan begins receiving the vaccine, deploying and deployable servicemembers will have priority, then the vaccine will be released to clinical outlets for medically vulnerable beneficiaries, which include pregnant women, those 65 and older, and those with chronic medical challenges like reduced immunity or heart and lung disease.

The flu shot is not the only way you can protect yourself. "Wash your hands often, if your kids are sick keep them home from school and call their medical provider. Keep hard surfaces clean and use good sneeze and cough etiquette. Don't touch your eyes, mouth or nose," said Deardorff-Roberson. If you feel you might have the flu make sure you stay home. Minimize close interaction with others and contact your provider for recommendations. When you seek care, make sure to ask for a mask to minimize exposure risk to others.

This year's flu vaccine has four strains. You may still get the flu if it is a different strain even if you are vaccinated. "People underestimate how much the vaccine reduces the severity of the flu (if you get it) and lessens the need for hospitalization," said Marcum.

In addition to the Madigan Flu Shot Drive, Tricare beneficiaries have several options for obtaining a flu shot. Visit your primary care provider. Retail pharmacy outlets or healthcare providers with Tricare Coverage also offer the flu shot and many also offer the flu mist is you prefer that. Visit for more information and finding a location.

The flu can be a very serious illness. According to, "The Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, the deadliest in history, infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide -- about one-third of the planet's population -- and killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million victims, including some 675,000 Americans." So protect your health and get a flu shot.

Madigan also offers a Flu hotline with the most current information. Flu Hotline -- 253.968.4744.

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