Written by Shalou Alberto. Updated August 2022 by Know A Vet?
August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). We all need shots (vaccines) to help protect us from serious diseases. This protection is called immunization.
Immunization works by helping to teach the immune system how to fight off a future infection of a particular type. The World Health Organization says there are vaccines available to prevent more than 20 life-threatening diseases like flu (influenza), measles, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough (pertussis), and COVID-19. Vaccines do not always prevent the disease but those who have been vaccinated may have a less severe case of the disease.
A few facts about vaccines:
Vaccines eliminated smallpox and polio in the U.S.
- Vaccines are one of the safest medical interventions we have
- People age 65 or older need a one-time shot to help prevent pneumonia
- Once you get a vaccine it also protects others around you from getting that disease
- All adults need a booster shot every 10 years to protect against tetanus and diphtheria
- Measles and other diseases have been significantly reduced in the U.S. because of Vaccines
It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them.
Source: National Public Health Information Coalition
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) make recommendations about immunizations. Everyone ages 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year. Other types of shots work best at specific ages or life stages.
- If you have a child age 6 or younger, learn which shots your child needs.
- If you have a child age 7 – 18, learn which shots your child needs.
- If you are 19 or older (adult) use this chart to see if you are up to date on your shot
- If you are pregnant, check out this recommended immunization schedule
If you are planning to travel outside the country, explore travel immunizations with the CDC Yellow Book . Specific vaccinations protect the health of individual travelers, as well as safeguard the health of the communities to which they return.
TRICARE covers age-appropriate doses of vaccines as recommended by the CDC at no cost to you. To avoid point-of-service fees, visit your network provider or your primary care manager. If going to retail pharmacies, make sure the pharmacist gives you the vaccine, not a provider, to avoid potential out-of-pocket costs. Best practice is to call the pharmacy to set an appointment, to make sure that the vaccine you need is on hand, and to ask what proof of documentation they require for the service.
Where To Get The Shots:
To find your local Veterans Affairs (VA) medical center or in-network community care provider, use the VA location finder.
To find a Tricare participating pharmacy, visit TriCare Find A Pharmacy.
To find a Military Hospital or Clinic, visit Find a Military Hospital or Clinic | TRICARE.
|Name||Phone Number||Pharmacy Locator|
|Walmart||1-800-Wal-Mart||Store Finder – Walmart.com|
|Sam’s Club||1-888-746-7726||Club Finder – Sam’s Club (samsclub.com)|
|Walgreens||1-800-WALGREENS||Store Locator | Walgreens|
|Kroger’s||1-800-576-4377||Store Locator – Kroger|
|CVS||1-800- 746-7287||CVS pharmacy store locations by state.|
|Rite Aid||1-800-748-3243||Find a Rite Aid location near you|
Talk to your doctor or nurse to make sure that everyone in your family gets the shots they need.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.) Understanding How Vaccines Work. CDC. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/conversations/understanding-vacc-work.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (n.d.). Vaccines for Your Children. CDC. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/parents/diseases/flu.html
Tricare. (n.d.) Covered Services. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/Pharmacy/Drugs/Vaccines
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.) National Immunization Awareness Month. VA. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/QUALITYOFCARE/education/National_Immunization_Awareness_Month.asp
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.). VA & TriCare Information. VA. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.va.gov/VADODHEALTH/TRICARE.asp
World Health Organization. (n.d.) Vaccines and Immunization. WHO. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/vaccines-and-immunization#tab=tab_1