JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
The nation is seeing an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, and flu resulting in a surge in emergency visits and hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
RSV and flu affect the lungs, airways, sinuses or throat. While RSV and flu are not new and can occur year-round, these infections are more common during the fall and winter months. It is also possible to be infected with multiple viruses at the same time.
Why is there a surge in RSV and flu cases?
Public health experts attribute the early surge in RSV and flu cases to the following reasons:
- A decrease in COVID-19 precautions, such as masking, social distancing, and relaxation on washing and sanitizing hands.
- Flu season data from the southern hemisphere (Australia and New Zealand) show that the flu season started earlier than usual, with cases and hospitalizations higher than usual.
Who is vulnerable?
Anyone can get the RSV or flu but the most vulnerable are:
- Individuals who are immune compromised
How is it spread?
- Virus droplets in your eyes, nose or mouth from an infected person who coughs, sneezes or talks.
- Touching a surface (doorknobs, counter surfaces), sharing eating utensils, or direct close contact with the virus.
What can you do to protect yourself and loved ones?
- Wash or sanitize hands.
- Wear a mask, especially when sick.
- Use a tissue or elbow when sneezing or coughing.
- Maintain a healthy immunity by getting adequate sleep and eating healthy.
- Keep children home if they are sick.
- CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot.
Do you need additional information?
For in-depth information on RSV, visit https://www.cdc.gov/rsv/index.html. For additional information on the flu, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/.
Not too late to vaccinate
This year there has been an early and severe start to the cold and flu season within the San Antonio Market and across the nation, with cases of influenza and RSV on the rise. With the upcoming holiday season and family gatherings, please keep in mind that vaccination is still the best protection against viral infections. If you haven’t had your bivalent COVID-19 vaccine or flu shot, it’s not too late.
The following are the SA Market vaccination hours:
TRICARE beneficiaries can obtain their COVID-19 and flu vaccines on a walk-in basis in the Brooke Army Medical Center Allergy and Immunization Clinic (3rd floor) weekdays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. from Nov. 22-Dec. 9. The flu shot is available on a walk-in basis for ages 7 and up and the COVID-19 bivalent vaccine for ages 12 and up. Please note the clinic will be closed Nov. 24 and 25 due to the Thanksgiving holiday. As a reminder, flu and COVID-19 shots can be administered at the same time. Bring your COVID vaccination card to help expedite the process.
Due to an anticipated increase in demand for the COVID booster, walk-ins may experience a longer than normal wait.
Additional BAMC Flu Vaccine Options
- Patients 6 months and older can obtain their flu shot during scheduled wellness appointments at the General Pediatric Clinic, the Adolescent Clinic, or at one of the Family Medicine Clinics.
- The BAMC General Pediatric clinic provides walk-in flu vaccinations for patients 6 months and older.
- The Adolescent and Young Adult Clinic provides walk-in flu vaccinations for their empaneled patients ages 12 and older.
- Family Medicine has flu vaccine appointments, which can be booked by calling 210-916-9900.
- Network/community pharmacies. For a list of participating pharmacies, visit https://www.tricare.mil/networkpharmacy.
Bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters are available by appointment in the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center Immunizations Clinic by calling CAMO at 210-916-9900.
Active duty members can walk in to the WHASC Immunizations Clinic (third floor, D wing) for their flu vaccination Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Nov. 21-Dec. 29. The exception is Wednesday, Nov. 23 when the clinic will close at noon. The clinic will be closed Nov. 24 and 25 due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Non-active duty beneficiaries can get vaccinated by appointment; call CAMO at 210-916-9900. Or, you can get a flu shot from a network pharmacy; for information, visit https://tricare.mil/CoveredServices/IsItCovered/FluVaccine.
Starting Jan. 3, all vaccination services will transition back to appointments.
The COVID-19 vaccines protect against the original form of the infectious respiratory disease as well as against the dominant omicron variant and its subvariants, which continue to mutate to become more easily transmissible. All flu vaccines in the United States for the 2022-2023 season protect against four different circulating flu viruses.
For more information on COVID-19 and flu shots, visit https://www.health.mil/News/Articles/2022/10/14/Time-to-Get-Your-Flu-Shot-and-Your-COVID-19-Booster-Too.