The Department of Defense (DOD) administers a variety of force health protection (FHP) measures to “promote, protect, improve, conserve, and restore” the health and well-being of servicemembers. These measures include health promotion and education programs, periodic health assessments, preventive therapies, medical countermeasures, and vaccinations.
The U.S. military instituted its first vaccination program in 1777 when General George Washington directed the inoculation of the Continental Army to protect personnel from smallpox. Since then, DOD has implemented a variety of enduring or situational FHP measures to protect servicemembers from health threats. Certain vaccines are required for all servicemembers, while others may only be required for those deploying to particular locations.