When Can I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
The big question on the mind of many TRICARE beneficiaries is, “When can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?” The Department of Defense (DoD) is offering the COVID-19 vaccine to service members, retirees, and their families through .
“Right now, the initial supply of the COVID-19 vaccine is limited, and availability varies by location,” said Dr. John Kugler, chief of the Clinical Support Division at the Defense Health Agency. “Vaccine supplies will increase over time and be available to all TRICARE beneficiaries. Get vaccinated as soon as you can to protect your health, family, and community.”
What are the DoD COVID-19 vaccination phases?
The DoD COVID-19 vaccination plan is based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 recommendations. It’s composed of the following phases.
Phase 1A. This phase is already underway at many military hospitals, clinics, and DoD installations. This phase includes vaccinating health care workers, first responders, and residents of Armed Forces Retirement Homes. As military hospitals and clinics complete this phase, they’ll move to the following phases.
Phase 1B. This phase includes select defense forces and beneficiaries age 75 years old and older. This phase also includes frontline essential workers, such as teachers, child care staff, and those who are involved in postal service, public transportation, as well as commissary and food service.
Phase 1C. This phase includes eligible beneficiaries age 65-74 and those ages 16-64 with increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, as defined by the CDC. This phase also includes some additional select military populations.
Phase 2. This phase includes any TRICARE beneficiaries not otherwise mentioned in the above phases.
For a complete list of who is included in each phase, go to the TRICARE COVID Vaccine page.
Get Informed and Get Ready for Your COVID-19 Vaccine
Where can you get the vaccine when it becomes available to you? If you’re eligible for TRICARE, you can get a COVID-19 vaccine at any military hospital or clinic that offers the vaccine, whether or not you get your routine care there. Keep in mind that military hospitals and clinics around the world may be in different phases of vaccine administration. The best way to know when a military hospital or clinic has vaccine available for you is by checking with them directly. Visit your military hospital or clinic website for information or contacts. Many also have hotline numbers you can call for vaccine updates.
All TRICARE beneficiaries are also 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 (this may include TRICARE network pharmacies, non-network pharmacies, and non-network providers)
As of Feb. 8, retail pharmacies will begin receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. You can see which pharmacies in your state will have vaccine available on the CDC website. There will be no charge for TRICARE beneficiaries who get their COVID-19 vaccination at any of these pharmacies.
Remember, there may be a cost based on your health plan for an office visit with a provider, or if you require follow-on care. If you have questions, you can contact your TRICARE contractor.
TRICARE is committed to supporting you and your health. Stay up to date on the vaccine and its availability through the TRICARE and Military Health System websites. You can also check with your local health department and talk to your health care provider about when you may qualify to receive the vaccine as well as your options for getting vaccinated.
TRICARE will host a Chat with TRICARE to answer your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Join the TRICARE Facebook page on Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. ET to participate. Sign up for email alerts, and keep up with TRICARE and COVID-19 updates.
Last Updated 2/18/2021