Military health officials are warning beneficiaries of the rise in transmission of the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, saying the best way to avoid potential threats from the mutation is to join the ranks of the fully vaccinated.
The variant spreads easier and faster than other strains, according to information provided by both the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and the VA, and results in a higher rate of hospitalizations and deaths. News reports blame the variant for an uptick in cases in some areas, including some states seeing cases double in early July. Increased transmission rates are more prevalent in areas with low vaccine rates.
Multiple studies have shown individuals who’ve been fully vaccinated obtain significant protection from falling ill or requiring hospitalization after becoming exposed to the variant. One study put the Pfizer vaccine at 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the variant and 96% effective against hospitalization.
However, DoD and VA health officials stress a patient receiving a multi-shot vaccine won’t be fully protected until two weeks after receiving their second shot. Veterans, spouses, and caregivers who are unable to get their second shot from their original provider can get one via the VA.
How to Get a Shot
- Many localities continue to offer free vaccinations at various locations. This search engine provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will help you find resources via your state health department. You can also search Vaccines.gov for locations in or near your ZIP code.
- TRICARE beneficiaries can find locations and appointment information nationwide via this website.
- VA beneficiaries can contact their local facility or visit this website for step-by-step instructions.
Have More Questions About Your Health Care Benefit?
MOAA's 2020-2021 TRICARE Guide answers some commonly asked questions.