COVID Vaccine

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.

Where can I get the vaccine?

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:

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

  • Deploying forces

  • 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

When can I get the vaccine?

Once the initial phases of the vaccine distribution are completed, the vaccines will be more broadly available.

COVID-19 vaccination schema image

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

What types of vaccines are being developed?

There are now three COVID-19 vaccines:

  • Janssen vaccine (also known as the Johnson & Johnson vaccine)
    • One shot only
  • Moderna vaccine
    • Two shots given 28 days apart
  • Pfizer vaccine
    • Two shots given 21 days apart

These 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.

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.

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

We want you to be ready when you’re offered the vaccine. Sign up for email alerts to get the latest TRICARE news and information. We’ll provide more information here as it becomes available.

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Last Updated 4/12/2021