Covid-19 vaccine

Immunizations, more commonly referred to as vaccines, help protect you, your family and friends, and the community from contracting and spreading vaccine-preventable diseases like seasonal flu, whooping cough, measles, shingles, pneumonia, and COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccinations not only protect us from seasonal illnesses like the flu, but they protect us in the future. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to serious side effects from certain diseases. Additionally, COVID-19 vaccines are one of many important tools to help us take control of this pandemic.

Find out more about the importance of vaccines at www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/vaxwithme.html.

There are three main platforms that vaccine manufacturers are using to develop COVID-19 vaccines. A central theme is that all vaccine candidates are focusing on developing immunity to the “S protein,” a component of the COVID-19 virus that is critical to allow itself to attach to receptors within our body and infect our cells. By developing vaccines that promote an immune response in our body against this specific protein, the available clinical trial data has shown encouraging results in preventing significant disease and/or transmission. Another difference between the candidates is differing storage requirements which could vary from simple refrigeration to deep freezing.

It is likely several vaccine candidates with be submitted for approval utilizing the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) application. This pathway was originally created after 9/11 to make sure that lifesaving therapies could be available earlier for vulnerable patients.

At this time, the answer is unclear. Viruses tend to mutate over time, and we do not yet completely understand how long vaccinations may provide protection from COVID-19 infection. This is a matter that will continue to be studied by the medical and scientific community.

If you have already received your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you can register for the Center of Disease Control (CDC) v-safeSM After Vaccination Health Checker. Using your smartphone, you can easily report side effects and even get reminders if you need a second vaccine dose. Remember, getting the vaccine doesn’t replace taking the necessary precautions such as wearing a mask, hand washing, and social distancing. For a full list of COVID-19 safety requirements, visit the CDC's vaccine information page.

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines are covered through the TRICARE pharmacy benefit. At this time, TRICARE beneficiaries can get a COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.

Federal, state and local governments and public health officials manage the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines will be made available in three phases. You can contact your local health department for more information on COVID-19 vaccination in your area. Learn more about the TRICARE COVID-19 vaccine program. 

When your state, local governments and public health officials announce a COVID-19 vaccine is ready for the phase that applies to you, contact a retail pharmacy to schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

TRICARE beneficiaries can get the COVID-19 vaccine at any retail pharmacy that is offering the vaccine, even if the pharmacy is not a part of the TRICARE pharmacy network. This only applies to the COVID-19 vaccine. Other vaccines are not covered at out-of-network pharmacies.

Make sure to bring your military ID, which includes your health insurance information when you get the COVID-19 vaccine.

All three vaccines authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been thoroughly tested and found to be safe and effective in preventing COVID-19. They continue to undergo intense safety monitoring. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety.

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