FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Blanchfield Army Community Hospital will open a temporary walk-in flu vaccine clinic for two weeks where beneficiaries may receive their annual influenza shot.

The temporary clinic will be open Oct. 28 to Nov. 6, Monday and Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Bldg. 207 on Bastogne Ave., next to Bank of America. All TRICARE beneficiaries six months or older, including Soldiers, Retirees and Family members, may receive the vaccine without an appointment with no out-of-pocket expense at the temporary walk-in flu immunization clinic. Individuals will need to show their military ID card before receiving the flu vaccine.

"We encourage everyone to take advantage of receiving the flu vaccine annually, which can help prevent or lessen the severity of flu. For individuals to receive the most protection in this region, we recommended our beneficiaries get the vaccine between October and December," said BACH Chief of Preventive Medicine Col. Kathryn Ellis. "By opening a community walk-in flu vaccine clinic, we hope to provide easier access to individuals who do not want to make a special doctor's appointment whether they are seen by a provider on or off post. We hope our eligible population takes advantage of this free benefit as a way to protect them and others against the flu which can be life threatening to some immune suppressed individuals."

BACH's Patient and Soldier Medical Home primary care teams will begin offering the flu vaccine to Soldiers and families within their patient-centered medical home Oct. 7. Vaccines may be given at the time of patients scheduled appointment or during walk-in hours within a patient's assigned medical home. Walk-in hours for BACH medical homes are available at http://blanchfield.amedd.army.mil/HealthcareServices/SitePages/WalkinServices.aspx

The temporary walk-in flu vaccine clinic offers extended evening hours for parents or working individuals to receive the vaccine after school or work.

In addition, the Young Eagle Medical Home, BACH's pediatric clinic, is offering a flu vaccination Halloween event within their clinic from 1 to 6 p.m., Oct. 29. Patients are encouraged to come dressed as your favorite character to receive their flu vaccine and a treat. This is open to all TRICARE beneficiaries six months to 17 years old.

Patients Assigned to Providers Outside of BACH

TRCIARE patients assigned to a network primary care provider off post who choose not to attend the walk-in clinic at Bldg. 207, may ask to receive the flu vaccine from their assigned primary care manager. If their assigned healthcare provider does not offer the flu vaccine as a TRICARE-covered benefit, patients may receive the influenza vaccine with no copayment at participating retail network pharmacies. To find a participating pharmacy, visit https://www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE/pharmacy/findpharmacy.shtml or call 1-877-363-1303.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months and older. Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. Flu seasons are unpredictable and have the potential to impact Department of Defense force readiness and mission. CDC estimates that the burden of illness during the 2017--2018 season was high with an estimated 48.8 million people getting sick with influenza, 22.7 million people going to a health care provider, 959,000 hospitalizations, and 79,400 deaths from influenza. More than 48,000 hospitalizations occurred in children 18 years old and younger; however, 70 percent of hospitalizations occurred in 65 years of age and older adults. Older adults also accounted for 90 percent of deaths, highlighting that older adults are particularly vulnerable to severe disease with influenza virus infection. An estimated 10,300 deaths occurred among working age adults, aged 18--64 years, an age group that often has low influenza vaccination. Special efforts should be made to vaccinate those at high risk from influenza complications to include pregnant women, children under five years of age, adults 65 years and older and those with certain medical conditions. As a standard safety precaution, people can also avoid getting or spreading the flu virus by washing their hands regularly and covering their cough or sneeze with a tissue or in their sleeve, instead of into their hands.