All Department of Defense (DoD) personnel are encouraged to take the vaccine to protect their health, their families, their community, and lower the public health risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Vaccines for COVID-19 are only available after they are demonstrated to be safe and effective in large Phase 3 clinical trials, have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and have been manufactured and distributed safely and securely. No steps are skipped during the clinical trial process. Vaccine safety checks are in-progress and will continue.
- Vaccines approved for emergency use are offered on a voluntary basis.
- All DoD personnel will continue to wear appropriate masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands, and follow restriction of movement to protect our safety as a large portion of the population will need to be vaccinated before COVID-19 risks diminish.
- The two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized require two shots. The first shot starts building protection, but everyone will have to receive the second shot to receive maximum benefit from the vaccine. The third authorized vaccine, a viral vector vaccine, is given as a single dose. People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated.
- mRNA vaccines will be some of the first COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use. mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19. They cannot give someone COVID-19 or alter your genetic makeup (DNA). mRNA stands for messenger ribonucleic acid and can most easily be described as instructions for how to make a protein or even just a piece of a protein.
Viral vector vaccines are also used against COVID-19. These vaccines use a modified version of a different virus (in this case the adenovirus) to deliver important instructions to our cells. For COVID-19 viral vector vaccines, the vector (not the virus that causes COVID-19, but a different, harmless virus) will enter a cell in our body and then use the cell’s machinery to produce
harmless piece of the virus that causes COVID-19. This triggers our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection.
- Early on, there will be a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination distribution prioritization will focus on those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential installation functions, deploying forces, and those at highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19.
- The vaccine will be offered to all DoD beneficiaries who want it as soon as larger quantities become available.
All DoD beneficiaries and other individuals who are eligible to receive vaccines from DoD will be offered and are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 immunization in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and under the FDA guidelines. The FDA may license the vaccine or release it under Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) or Expanded Access (EA) protocols.
- If the vaccine is released under EUA or EA status, vaccination is voluntary* and will not:
- be a mandatory military readiness vaccine
- a requirement for deployment
- a condition of employment for civilian personnel
Future FDA licensure of the vaccine may result in additional DoD guidance for the use of the vaccine as a medical readiness requirement for personnel.
*Unless waived by the President of the United States, COVID-19 vaccine(s) under EUA or EA status are not a mandatory medical readiness requirement.
Military Health System (MHS) COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Center for Healthcare Personnel
Information and resources on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program from the Defense Health Agency Immunization Healthcare Division. This information is geared toward health care personnel in the DoD.
Click here to learn more
Communication Products and Educational Resources
APHC Downloadable COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Products. Posters suitable for multiple audiences and locations to convey that the vaccines are safe and effective and will protect yourself, your family, your community, and help end the pandemic.
COVID-19 Vax Facts Use these graphics to give TRICARE beneficiaries the information they need to know now about the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Senior Leader Webinar Watch top military and medical officials discuss COVID-19 vaccinations. Among those speaking at the webinar were Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; and Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency. The event was hosted by Blue Star Families and the American Red Cross.
MHS COVID-19 Vaccine Communications Toolkit This toolkit provides messages and graphics to use locally through various platforms. Use the materials provided in this toolkit to help educate the Military Health community about COVID-19 prevention and vaccination.
MHS COVID-19 Vaccine Training Center Vaccine training material available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Patient Education Resources DHA Immunization Healthcare Division resource listing including many of the products called out specifically below.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information for TRICARE Beneficiaries Information about COVID-19 availability for TRICARE beneficiaries.
"Building Confidence in COVID-19 Vaccines Among Your Patients, Tips for the Healthcare Team" This presentation educates the healthcare team about COVID-19 vaccines that are pending authorization, vaccine safety monitoring, elements of vaccine confidence, and tangible strategies for effective conversations with their patients.
"Why Get Vaccinated?" A PDF flyer promoting vaccination for top priority healthcare personnel.
"Three Reasons Why You Were Given Top Priority to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19" A PDF flyer promoting vaccination for top priority healthcare personnel.
"Getting 'Back to Normal' Is Going to Take All of Our Tools" A PDF flyer reinforcing basic personal protective measures.
COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit from the Military Health System COVID-19 vaccine information, graphics, and messaging that can be shared at the local level.
COVID-19 Townhall Template(CAC required) Use this template and the associated Letter of Instruction to tailor a presentation for your installation's use and to meet the needs of your audience.
Talking to Recipients about COVID-19 Vaccines This material includes proven communication strategies and tips for effectively setting expectations and addressing questions from COVID-19 vaccine recipients.
DoD is confident in the stringent regulatory processes 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 the vaccines are authorized for use and distribution. Per FDA requirements, DoD will be monitoring and tracking reports of vaccine side effects through various surveillance activities both internal and external to the DoD. Click here to learn more
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