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The Flu Virus and What You Need to Know

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kammy Fitzgerald
  • 6th Medical Operations Squadron

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Every year during flu season, staff are flooded with inquiries concerning the flu vaccine such as; “I’m a healthy adult why do I need the flu shot?” or “Every year I get the flu after receiving the flu vaccine.” Here are a few answers to those questions and concerns you may have.


Influenza is a serious virus that presents and affects individuals differently. Some are under the impression that if they maintain a healthy lifestyle they will be strong enough to withstand the influenza virus. Not necessarily! Even healthy individuals can contract the virus and spread it to others. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 200,000 individuals are admitted to the hospital annually due to the flu virus, and thousands more with flu related complications.


A common misconception is that the Influenza vaccine causes the flu. The shot may cause flu-like symptoms lasting 3-5 days which include soreness, redness, and swelling at the injection site as well as cough, fever, headache, body aches, and fatigue. However, less than one percent of those vaccinated develop flu-like symptoms.


Immunity to the influenza virus develops within 1-2 weeks following vaccination. Delaying flu vaccination increases your risk of illness because you are unprotected against viral exposure. Flu vaccinations are typically available to beneficiaries each year in November, with availability dependent upon Department of Defense distribution. Look for more information in a Public Service Announcement or on our Facebook page in the coming months.


The immunization clinic is here to serve you; we can be contacted at 813-827-9377. MacDill Immunizations clinic hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., except Thursdays when we close at 2 p.m. for smallpox administration. Vaccinations are provided by appointment only at the Brandon clinic; call 813-828-2273 to schedule an appointment.