August is Immunization Awareness Month and is a great time to find out which vaccines you and your need to be protected at different ages and stages in life.
Immunization typically starts at birth. At 2 months old, infants start receiving a series of six primary immunizations that protect against disease.
These diseases can be spread in a variety of ways. Flu and other diseases spread through the air or on surfaces. Hepatitis B is spread through exposure to infectious blood or bodily fluids. Rotavirus is spread when the virus is shed by an infected person and then enters another person’s mouth. Babies frequently use their mouths to explore the world around them, so this vaccine is extremely important. For more information, visit the Rotavirus page on Health.mil.
Some vaccines require multiple doses for lifelong protection. These may start in infancy and continue in later stages of childhood. Toddlers and school-age children typically get immunized again for Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR), Hepatitis A and chickenpox.
Recommendations for middle school aged and older kids include vaccines to enhance protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, and protect against meningitis and human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a leading cause of cervical and other cancers.
More vaccines may be needed during adulthood based on factors like age, occupation, lifestyle, high-risk medical conditions, type and locations of travel, and previous vaccine history. For older beneficiaries, vaccines are available and recommended to protect against pneumonia and other infections, as well as shingles, a very painful condition caused by the same virus as chickenpox.
TRICARE covers, at no cost, age-appropriate doses of vaccines as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For more information visit the TRICARE website.
Through the expanded TRICARE pharmacy vaccine program, you may receive certain covered vaccines for zero copayment at participating network pharmacies. For more information, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303 or search for participating pharmacies online.
For more information on immunizations, please visit the DHA Immunization Healthcare Branch’s website at www.health.mil/vaccines.