Seasonal Flu Vaccine FAQ
Keep your immune system strong this year by obtaining a flu vaccine. Learn more about how to get your free flu shot with your TRICARE pharmacy benefit.
If you are an Active Duty service member, you are required to get the flu vaccine. You have priority to get the vaccine at military immunization clinics and you can also get vaccines at participating network pharmacies, or from a TRICARE-authorized provider.
Where can I obtain my seasonal flu vaccine for free?
You and your covered family members have options for obtaining a free flu vaccine through your TRICARE pharmacy benefit.
Military Immunization Clinic
Find a military hospital or clinic that offers vaccines. If your military immunization clinic is closed, you can visit a retail network pharmacy or see a TRICARE authorized provider.
TRICARE Retail Network Pharmacy
To receive free vaccinations at a participating network pharmacy, visit militaryrx.express-scripts.com and select the find a pharmacy tool. Once you select your network pharmacy, follow guidance from that pharmacy for vaccine availability and appointment scheduling. Make sure the vaccine is scheduled through the pharmacy as onsite health clinics may require a copayment.
TRICARE Authorized Provider
You can get a covered flu vaccine from any TRICARE-authorized provider at no cost. You may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for the office visit or for other services received during the same visit.
What steps do I need to take before getting a flu vaccine from a participating network pharmacy?
After you select your network pharmacy, contact the pharmacy and ask about vaccine availability, if a pharmacist is available to give the vaccine, and if there are any restrictions, including for children.
If your state has a restriction, you should go to your healthcare provider or a military immunization clinic for the flu vaccine.
Will I have to pay a copayment for my flu shot at a participating network pharmacy?
TRICARE beneficiaries can receive free flu vaccines through a participating network pharmacy. Be sure to have your military ID and obtain the flu vaccine from a pharmacist, not an onsite clinic provider to avoid a copayment.
Can I obtain other vaccines from the pharmacist at a participating network pharmacy?
If you need additional immunizations, ask your doctor to write a prescription and send it to the pharmacy and the pharmacist can give the vaccinations. Review TRICARE's list of covered vaccines.
Who is eligible to receive a flu vaccine?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone aged 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccine. It is particularly important for groups of people listed below:
- Young children
- Pregnant women
- Adults age 65 and over
- Essential workers: (healthcare personnel, pharmacy staff, and nursing home or long-term care facility residents)
- Racial/ethnic minority groups
- People with underlying health conditions
Talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions regarding which flu vaccines are best for you and your family.
When should I get my flu vaccine?
According to the CDC, the flu season in the United States occurs during the fall and winter. Flu activity peaks between December and February, but can last as late as May. The CDC recommends obtaining an annual flu vaccine early in fall and by the end of October. After vaccination, it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu.
Will a flu vaccine prevent me from getting COVID-19?
The flu vaccine will not prevent COVID-19, but it has been shown to reduce the risk of flu infection and illness, hospitalization and death. Follow recommendations from the CDC, adhere by social distancing guidelines and wear a facemask to limit exposure to COVID-19 and the flu.
Getting a flu vaccine this flu season is more important than ever to protect yourself and the people around you from flu. It can also help reduce the burden on healthcare workers as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.