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Educate & Vaccinate: Protect Yourself and Others

Educate and vaccinate: Protect yourself and others

Protect yourself, your loved ones and others around you by getting a flu shot and the updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Flu shots can reduce your risk of having to see a VA provider for flu-related illness by 40%, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that it is safe to get the latest COVID-19 vaccine at the same time.  So, do not delay, make wellness a priority by getting vaccinated during your next VA appointment with Primary Care.

With respiratory illnesses on the rise this new year, your VA care team wants to ensure you have the facts about seasonal vaccines. A vaccine uses a tiny amount of substance that builds up antibodies to provide protection from getting infected if the real bacteria or virus enters your body. Additionally, vaccines help “prevent or lessen the severity of many types of diseases caused by infection.” 

Your VA care team and the CDC recommend everyone age 6 months and older get a flu shot each year. Chief of Ambulatory Care, Dr. Melissa M. Turner, wants Veterans to understand that “The flu causes unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths, which can be prevented.” Dr. Turner, who leads our Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center Primary Care operations explains that the most vulnerable population of Veterans who need the vaccine include:

  • Men and women over age 65
  • Those who are immunocompromised
  • Those who suffer from chronic illness
  • Pregnant women

Along with the flu shot, due to changes in the virus that cause COVID-19, it is important to get the updated vaccine as soon as you can. “COVID-19 is still present and causing illness, though less severely than before,” Dr. Turner shared. “Most people experience it as a bad cold or like the flu but the mortality rate from COVID infections is significantly higher.” Dr. Turner also explains that the following Veterans most at-risk for COVID infections include:

  • Men and women over age 65
  • Those who are immunocompromised
  • Veterans who suffer from chronic illness

The DC VA Medical Center and its community-based outpatient clinics (CBOC) offer Veterans who are enrolled for VA health care a free flu shot during primary care and other specialty appointments. Also, free Moderna Spikevax COVID vaccinations are available at the main medical center in Washington, DC.

Overall, vaccines are the most effective way to protect your wellness. Speak with your VA health care team to learn more about recommended preventative care screening tests and immunizations which fit your personal health care plan and goals. 

Don’t let seasonal viruses or COVID get you down! Get more information about the importance of vaccinations below: 

Veterans Health Library | Veterans Affairs (

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC

Seasonal Flu Vaccines | CDC



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