The Latest on Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

The Latest on Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
Photo By Staff Sgt. Gabrielle Spalding/Air Force

Distributing the COVID-19 vaccine is a national priority, but supplies are irregular and shot locations vary from location to location. Here’s a breakdown of the latest.

 

TRICARE

Base health facilities will administer shots according to the priority plan as vaccine is available. The priority plan is available at this link.

 

You can get the shot at your doctor’s office, but beware: While the shot is free, you may be charged by the doctor for services, an office call, or follow-up issues.

 

Getting the shot at a TRICARE network pharmacy remains your best choice. TRICARE beneficiaries should contact your local TRICARE network pharmacy to determine when you can schedule an appointment to receive the vaccine. Locate a local TRICARE network pharmacy at this link.

 

If you cannot locate a network pharmacy with the vaccine in stock, TRICARE beneficiaries can receive the vaccine at non-network pharmacies at no charge; under the federal response, pharmacies are prohibited from balance billing patients for COVID-19 vaccines.

 

However, TRICARE does NOT cover other vaccines (e.g., flu, shingles, etc.) at non-network pharmacies. The preferred option is to go to a TRICARE network pharmacy for all other covered vaccines.

 

[RELATED: DoD Expands COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Beneficiaries Age 75 and Older]

 

TRICARE beneficiaries can get more information on the COVID-19 vaccine at this link. Also, visit your local military treatment facility’s Facebook page and/or website for updates on vaccine availability and scheduling.

 

One other note on the vaccine: “If it’s available in the community, and it’s easier for you to get it there, then get it at your first opportunity,” Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA), said during a Feb. 4 online forum hosted by Blue Star Families. “If you normally get care at an MTF, please let us know if you get the vaccine somewhere else so we can update your records.”

 

[AT CDC.GOV: Find a Link to Your State's Health Department]

 

VA

The latest on the VA’s COVID-19 vaccine program is available at this link. As of Feb. 5, the VA is vaccinating individuals in these groups:

  • VA health care personnel.
  • Veterans in VA long-term care facilities.
  • Veterans receiving VA care who fall into a high-risk category. This includes all veterans age 75 and older.
  • Some caregivers enrolled in the VA's Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC).

 

The VA plans to notify patients when they can receive a vaccine at their local VA facility. Local facilities may reach out to veterans directly, especially if they are offering large-scale vaccine events. If you’re not receiving care through the VA and think you may be eligible, check this link to find out and apply for benefits.

 

The VA maintains a list of frequently asked questions about the vaccine and the vaccination process at this link.

 

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About the Author

Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®
Lt. Col. Shane Ostrom, USAF (Ret), CFP®

Ostrom retired from the Air Force in 2000 and joined the MOAA team in 2006. His responsibilities include researching and answering member inquiries regarding military benefits, health care, survivor issues, and financial concerns.