This flu season is seeing some changes in preventive care. The DoD will not be using FluMist, an intranasal flu vaccine, following CDC recommendations against it. Several studies have shown it is not effective against H1N1, the strain that caused the 2009 pandemic. It also was deemed ineffective during the 2013-2014 and 2015-16 seasons in children aged 2 to 17.
“Because the CDC didn’t recommend it this year, FluMist will not be available in MTFs and will not count toward our military member’s readiness requirements, and it won’t be covered by TRICARE,” said COL Margaret Yacovone, Chief DHA Immunization Healthcare Branch, in an interview with Health.mil News, “If CDC changes its recommendation in the future, it may again be available in the DoD.” She adds that, although it isn’t known why the vaccine wasn’t effective, its safety was not in question.
Instead, this season, all flu vaccines will be injectables. The DoD expects to have enough supply of injectable vaccine at military treatment facilities for all age groups, according to the article. The Army is expecting to give approximately 1.6 million flu shots—more than half the total number of doses ordered by the DoD annually. Although the DoD goal is to have at least 90% immunized by year’s end, LTC Charlene Warren-Davis, USAMMA’s Pharmacy Consultant and Distribution Operations Center director, says if people haven’t had their flu shots by then, “we still encourage them to get immunized. The flu vaccine is usually viable until June 30.”