A new appointment-scheduling website from the Defense Health Agency (DHA) allows TRICARE beneficiaries to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations at military treatment facilities nationwide, one of several online resources available to those seeking a shot.
The DHA Appointing Portal (DAP) includes options inside and outside the continental U.S., with users able to select their state, territory, or nation, then their nearest facility. It’s based on a portal designed by Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., said Col. Jennifer, Garrison, USA, DoD’s team lead for the vaccine rollout, during a March 23 DHA video event.
“It was so good, DHA said we want to take your idea and run with it,” Garrison said. “This is a publicly accessible, online, user-friendly tool that allows patients to book COVID-19 vaccination appointments anytime, anywhere.”
Each site outlines site-specific eligibility rules, and not all military treatment facilities are listed on the portal; a facility at Fort Rucker is the only option for Alabama on the portal, for example, though beneficiaries near Redstone Arsenal can get vaccine appointments at Fox Army Health Center. If you’re not finding details on a facility near you, consider this facility locator at TRICARE.mil.
TRICARE also issued new answers to frequently asked questions March 23, covering the current DoD tier system and offering links to other options beneficiaries may have to get the vaccine.
Not close to a military facility? Another option could be your local pharmacy: You can find a list of TRICARE network pharmacies at this link. A reminder: while TRICARE will cover the vaccine at non-network pharmacies, it will not cover other vaccines (flu, shingles, etc.) at those locations.
The Way Forward
DoD officials pledged to make the vaccine available to all beneficiaries by May 1, according to a Military.com report published March 27. VA officials have pledged to make the vaccine available to all veterans by May 1.
[AT CDC.GOV: Find a Link to Your State's Health Department]
All DoD beneficiaries are on track to be vaccinated by mid-July, DHA director Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, USA, told reporters. About 30% of those in uniform had received a shot, per the Military.com report, but about 60% hadn’t been offered one yet, as they fall into the lowest-risk group – under 64 years old without underlying health conditions.
TRICARE maintains updated COVID-19 vaccine information at this link.
It’s more important than ever to make sure you’re in the know and your military benefits are protected.