The U.S. Military Sealift Command (MSC) requires an annual flu vaccine for all mariners who sail aboard MSC-contracted ships. Specifically, the flu vaccine must be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is due to other countries using different flu strains in their respective vaccines which may not be as effective against the types of flu seen in the U.S.
If you are getting a flu shot in order to sail on MSC-contracted vessels, it is best to receive it in the U.S. (states or territories). That is the only way to be certain that the vaccine is U.S. FDA-approved.
Veterans who can access care on overseas U.S. military medical facilities may be able to obtain an FDA-approved vaccine, but in that case, be sure to verify its status.
Flu vaccines administered in other countries are unlikely to be U.S. FDA-approved.
Questions may be directed to the Seafarers Health and Benefits Plan Medical Department at (301) 994-0010 or [email protected]
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