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. Under this program, the DoD will distribute the vaccines through a series of phases.
The availability of the vaccine may vary by location. The vaccines will be more broadly available in the coming months. You should contact your local military hospital or clinic for their vaccination process and availability. You can also visit your military hospital's website, news media, or social media to stay informed about vaccine updates.
You’ll eventually be able to 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. Wherever you eventually receive your vaccination, please remember you'll need to check availability before showing up.
The first supply of the vaccine is limited. The first vaccines will be given in phases. The first phases will be for:
- Individuals providing direct medical care
Individuals maintaining essential installation functions
Individuals at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19
- Adults age 75 and older
Vaccines will be offered to other TRICARE beneficiaries as more vaccines are available and after priority individuals have been vaccinated. Learn more about the first phases of DoD COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Once the initial phases of the vaccine distribution are completed, the vaccines will be more broadly available.
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, restriction of movement, and physical distancing. The more steps you and your family can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the safer you’ll be.
This is true even after you get your vaccine.
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 is a system in place that allows the CDC to watch for safety issues and make sure the vaccines stay safe.
Have you received your vaccine?
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
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Last Updated 4/13/2021