Armed Forces News

Bethesda, MD - Dec 2020: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith receives the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. (Navy photo by MCS 1st Class Sarah Villegas)

TRICARE beneficiaries will begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines. The agency unveiled plans last month to begin distributing and administering the inoculations in phases.

“As the vaccine becomes more widely available in the coming weeks, we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated,” said Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency. “The vaccine is safe, effective, and a critical addition to current public health measures. It helps us protect our health, our families, our communities, and significantly decrease the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Initial inoculations were and are being distributed to those who provide direct medical care, maintain essential functions at installations, are ready to deploy, and who are at the highest risk of developing illnesses related to COVID-19. Others will receive the vaccine once this first group is inoculated, under a phased approach.

Availability will be limited to a few locations in the U.S. and overseas at first. In time, beneficiaries will be able to get the vaccine at their local military hospital or clinic, through their civilian provider, or through TRICARE network pharmacies. The agency is working to ensure that beneficiaries incur no out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine. Meanwhile, military health officials continue to urge everyone under their care to continue to practice healthy habits that would help stem the virus’s spread.

“These habits include wearing a mask, practicing physical distancing, restricting your movement, and washing your hands,” TRICARE stated.

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