Researchers develop vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat diseases in stages. In Phase 1 Trials, researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time. In Phase 2 Trials, the experimental drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people to see if it’s effective and to further evaluate its safety. In Phase 3 Trials, the experimental study drug or treatment is given to very large groups of people. Researchers confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers to submit their raw data for review. The FDA collects ad reviews safety, immune response, and efficacy data from the trial stages before it authorizes vaccines for use and distribution.
The Department of Defense (DoD), in collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services, has launched a program to provide COVID-19 vaccines to service members, retirees, and their families.
Starting on April 19, all eligible and authorized TRICARE beneficiaries can make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, as available, at a DoD vaccination site.Where can I get the vaccine?
The availability of the vaccine may vary by location. Eligible TRICARE beneficiaries can make a COVID-19 vaccination appointment at a military hospital, clinic, or vaccination site. This includes US Family Health Plan (USFHP) enrollees. Visit the COVID-19 DoD Vaccine Appointments page to see DoD vaccination locations and what appointment tools each location is using.
You can also get the COVID-19 vaccine at:
- Local or state health department COVID-19 vaccination sites.
- Your civilian provider.
- Pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
The vaccine itself is offered at no cost, but there may be a cost based on your plan for an office visit or if you require follow-on care.Why should I get the vaccine?
According to the CDC, a COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool in stopping the pandemic. It may be an effective way to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19. And it may help keep you from getting seriously ill if you do catch the virus. Getting vaccinated also protects the health of the people around you—especially those who are at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
What can I do now?
It's still important to follow CDC guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This includes:
- Wearing masks.
- Washing hands.
- Restricting travel.
- Physical distancing.
The more steps you and your family can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the safer you'll be.
What can I do after I'm fully vaccinated?
As more people get vaccinated, you'll be able to visit friends and family safely. The CDC has issued new information about the kinds of activities you can do after you're fully vaccinated.
COVID Vaccine Safety
Are there risks?
The vaccines may cause side effects in some people, like sore muscles, feeling tired, or mild fever. For most people, these side effects will last no more than a day or two. Having these side effects doesn't mean you have COVID-19. If you have questions about how you're feeling after your shot, contact your provider or call the MHS Nurse Advice Line. It's rare, but if you have a severe allergic reaction, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency roomThe hospital department that provides emergency services to patients who need immediate medical attention.. A severe allergic reaction would usually occur within a few minutes to one hour after getting a dose of the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccines:
- Don't contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. You can't get COVID-19 from these vaccines.
- Don't affect or interact with our DNA in any way.
- Have gone through the same safety tests and meet the same standards as any other vaccines produced through the years. There's a system in place that allows the CDC to watch for safety issues and make sure the vaccines stay safe.
What should I do after receiving my first vaccine dose?
If you've already received your COVID-19 vaccine, you can sign up for v-safe. V-safe is a smart-phone based tool developed by the CDC, that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.
Be Ready and Informed
TRICARE-Videos TRICARE Got Your Six: >> More Videos
Got Your Six video for May 6, 2021
Following a thorough safety review, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration have determined that the recommended pause regarding the use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (also known as the J&J vaccine) in the U.S. should be lifted and use of the vaccine should resume. DoD sites will begin a controlled resumption of the Janssen vaccine later this week.
You may be able to use an online scheduling tool to book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a DoD vaccination site.
Last Updated 5/6/2021