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.

Who is getting the vaccine first?

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

Why should I get the vaccine?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (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.

When can I get the vaccine?

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

who gets covid 19 vaccines first

Where will I get the vaccine when offered?

The availability of the vaccine may vary by location. The DHA is developing several options to assist military hospitals and clinics in reaching out to you. You can also visit your military hospital's website, news media, or social media to stay informed about vaccine updates. You should contact your local military hospital or clinic for their vaccination process and availability. The vaccines will be more broadly available in the coming months.

You’ll eventually be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine at:

  • Your local military hospital or clinic.

  • Your civilian provider.

  • TRICARE network pharmacies (May require PCM referral if you use TRICARE Prime).

  • TRICARE non-network providers or TRICARE non-network pharmacies. If you choose this option, you may have to pay a cost-shareA percentage of the total cost of a covered health care service that you pay. based on your TRICARE plan. You may have to pay out of pocket and file a claim for reimbursement.

Wherever you eventually receive your vaccination, please remember you need to check availability before showing up.

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.

COVID Vaccine Safety

The Pfizer, Moderna, and other COVID-19 vaccines in development prevent infection from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if COVID-19 enters our bodies.

mRNA vaccines:

  • Don’t contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. You can’t get COVID-19 from the vaccine.
  • 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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Last Updated 1/15/2021