SAN ANTONIO, Texas (Army News Service, April 15, 2010) -- TRICARE Prime enrollees not on active duty have until the end of this month if they want free vaccinations against the H1N1 flu from a non-network provider.

After April 30, they will need a referral from their primary-care managers to receive the vaccinations from a non-network provider, and there may be a cost, TRICARE officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends influenza vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.

TRICARE beneficiaries can now get their shots from network and non-network providers without paying a deductible or making a co-payment.

A temporary waiver allows non-active-duty TRICARE Prime enrollees to get the H1N1 immunization from non-network providers without a referral or authorization, eliminating point-of-service charges. This waiver expires April 30.

Vaccinations will still be available after April 30, but a charge may be applied outside the TRICARE network, officials said. Information on TRICARE benefits can be found at www.cdc.gov, symptoms of the H1N1 virus include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. Severe illnesses and death has occurred as a result of illness associated with this virus.

The CDC states that most people who get the flu (either seasonal or 2009 H1N1) will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks.