FORT HOOD, Texas –Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center is holding its walk-in, community-wide flu vaccine roundup for Tricare eligible retirees ages 3 and up this Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Clear Creek Exchange.

“According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and complications that can result in hospitalization or even death,” said public health registered nurse, Capt. Claireisa Spencer.

On average, between 5 percent and 20 percent of the U.S. population develops influenza annually, leading to more than 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications and more than 36,000 deaths, according to the CDC. The influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups. The CDC reports that in general, the highest VE is among young healthy adults and older children, stating that the flu vaccine can prevent 66 percent or more influenza infections in young children, with even higher estimates for older children.

The CDC recommends the flu vaccine those six months and older. It also advises people considered high risk such as people 65 years and older and people that have chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, congestive heart failure and lung disease receive the vaccine.

“The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year,” said Spencer.

The CDC, the World Health Organization and other medical officials continually monitor influenza viruses and outcomes and are responsible for determining the composition of the flu vaccine to combat the flu viruses that research indicates are most likely to cause illness during the upcoming season.

The CDC also offers the following tips on reducing the risk of getting the flu:

  • Clean your hands often with soap and warm water or alcohol-based hand cleaners;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough then put used tissue in the waste basket. If a tissue is not available, then sneeze or cough into the inside of your elbow, not your hand.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and keep your distance or stay home if you are sick.