Vaccines are among the most important accomplishments in medicine. They have saved more lives around the world than any other medical invention, including antibiotics or surgery. Vaccines help provide a safe and effective means of countering the threats to personal health and military readiness. Taking the COVID-19 vaccine helps protect yourself, your community, and the nation. 

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by a novel coronavirus first identified in December 2019, that has since spread around the world. Although most people who have COVID-19 have mild symptoms, COVID-19 can also cause severe illness and even death. Some groups, including older adults and people who have certain underlying medical conditions, are at increased risk of severe illness or death. The U.S. effort to develop COVID-19 vaccines, called Operation Warp Speed, aims to deliver safe and effective vaccines with the first supply expected to become available before the end of 2020. Supplies will increase over time, and all adults should be able to get vaccinated later in 2021. A COVID-19 vaccine for children may not be available until more study data are completed.

To learn more, please review the Covid 19 Vaccine Document.

 

 

The DoD initially expects a limited quantity of COVID-19 vaccine before the end of 2020, and rolling delivery
to MTFs and other health care facilities after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves the vaccine for use.
When the vaccine becomes available, DoD will follow the CDC’s prioritization guidelines (framework) for distribution.
Talk to your provider or local MTF for more details about when vaccine will become available.

Source: DHA-IHD. DoD COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Planning Update Newsletter. 4 November 2020.

Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and
effective products are available to the American public. During public health emergencies, when there is good scientific
reason to believe that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its use through an
Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), even if definitive proof of the effectiveness of the drug or vaccine is not known.
FDA pre-licensure approval is considered for treatment or prevention of diseases that are very serious.

Source: MHS Communications Plan. COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) Prevention – Vaccination Questions and Answers.

Each potential recipient of COVID-19 vaccine will receive a vaccine-specific Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)
Fact Sheet for Recipients from the FDA, which will provide the following information:
Basic information on COVID-19, symptoms, and what to discuss with a health care provider before vaccination

  • Who should and should not receive the vaccine
  • That recipients have the choice to receive the vaccine
  • Dosage and vaccine series information
  • Risks and benefits of the vaccine
  • An explanation of what an EUA is and why it is issued
  • Any approved available alternatives for preventing COVID-19
  • Additional resources

Source: CDC. COVID-19 Vaccine Training Modules.

Early COVID-19 vaccines will be given in a two-dose series separated by 21 or 28 days, depending on the product. Vaccines from different manufacturers will NOT be interchangeable. The vaccine must receive the same vaccine for both doses.

Source: DHA-IHD. DoD COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Planning Update Newsletter. 4 November 2020.

All vaccine recipients will be provided a copy of the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card after receipt of the vaccine. It is recommended that the second-dose appointment be made at the time of initial vaccinations, or instructions provided on procedures for second dose follow-up. If a vaccine recipient has a smartphone, it is recommended that they take a photo of the vaccination record card as a back-up copy and set a calendar reminder for receipt of the second dose.

Source: Draft DHA-IPM 20-xxx . DoD Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19 Vaccination Program (CVP) Implementation

Because the duration of immunity from natural infection with COVID-19 is unknown, vaccine may have value in protecting people who have already had the disease. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Talk with your provider if you have been previously infected with COVID-19.

Source: CDC. Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ vaccines/faq.html

Masks and physical distancing will still be necessary until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection. Global and national public health authorities are expected to continue to recommend wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, for everyone, until pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced.

Source: MHS Communications Plan. COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) Prevention – Vaccination Questions and Answers

The risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 increases with age, with the greatest risk among those aged 85 or older. Adults of any age with the following conditions are also at increased risk of severe illness: Cancer; chronic kidney disease, COPD; heart disease; weakened immune system; obesity; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; smoking; and type 2 diabetes mellitus. COVID-19 is a new disease. Currently there are limited data and information about the impact of many underlying medical conditions and whether they increase risk. Talk with your provider about your individual risk factors and appropriate precautions.

Sources: CDC. Older Adults. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html CDC. People with Certain Medical Conditions. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/ people-with-medical-conditions.html

DoD is confident in the stringent regulatory process and requirements of the FDA. Manufacturers are required to submit their raw data for the FDA to review. Safety, immune response, and efficacy data from the trial stages are submitted to the FDA before they are authorized for use and distribution. Per FDA requirements, DoD will be monitoring and tracking vaccine reports of vaccine side effects through various surveillance activities both internal and external to the DoD.

The DoD will offer vaccine to civilian and contractor staff with direct patient care and to those who normally receive vaccine for occupational health purposes, as authorized in accordance with DoD regulation. This may include some of those working on installations or depots or arsenals, and we are continuing to refine these populations in preparation for the additional vaccination efforts following vaccination of healthcare workers.

Yes, based on DoD prioritization. While there is limited vaccine availability, vaccination distribution prioritization will focus on those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces, and those beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19. TRICARE beneficiaries empaneled at a DoD Military Treatment Facility (MTF) are eligible to receive the vaccine at a DoD MTF. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction.

To the greatest extent possible, beneficiaries in priority groups who are enrolled at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) should come to the MTF to be vaccinated. This will ensure the maximum number of vaccine opportunities allocated to jurisdictions other than DoD are available for the non-DoD population. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction.