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COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

On Aug. 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued formal licensure of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, now called COMIRNATY®. This licensure is based on rigorous studies demonstrating efficacy and safety through data collected over the past year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state their Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices uses a formal evidence process in their reviews, and holds public meetings where the evidence is reviewed before deliberation occurs. This process complements public deliberations carried out by the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee.

Following CDC guidance, DOD will continue to adjust health protection protocols to the local conditions of the communities in which we serve. The Department’s priorities include:

  • Protecting our Service members, DOD civilians, and families
  • Safeguarding our national security capabilities
  • Supporting the whole-of-nation response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The CDC currently recommends COVID-19 vaccination for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breast feeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine helps protect you, your family, your community and our nation. Eligible and authorized TRICARE beneficiaries can make a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, as available, at a DOD vaccination site.

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit Page TRICARE Beneficiary Information

DOD Vaccine Mandate

Active Duty Service Members

The DOD now requires COVID-19 vaccines for all members of the Armed Forces under DOD authority on active duty or in the Ready Reserve, including the National Guard who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This include pregnant service members. Each service will decide their own deadline for vaccination.

  • If you’re a service member and you’ve received a COVID-19 vaccine from a non-DOD provider, make sure to update your medical records.
  • If you haven’t received your COVID vaccine yet, schedule your vaccine as soon as you can.
  • Find a DOD COVID Vaccine Location near you

The DOD already requires all ADSMs to get other types of vaccines before they join the military. There are very narrow religious and medical exemptions available on a case-by-case basis. If you have questions, contact your unit commander.

DOD Civilian Employees

All DOD civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22, 2021, subject to exemptions as required by law.

  • Employees are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after completing the second dose of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or 2 weeks after receiving a single dose of a one-dose COVID-19 vaccine.
  • New DoD civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by their entry on duty (start) date or Nov. 22, 2021, whichever is later.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety

COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States continue to be remarkably effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.

The CDC confirms COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective and recommend that all persons get COVID-19 vaccinations as soon as possible. In addition to the newly licensed Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, now called COMIRNATY®, several COVID-19 vaccines have been offered through FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization.  

COVID-19 vaccine development has processes and procedures in place to help ensure the safety of any vaccine authorized for use. Vaccines for COVID-19 are only available after they are:

  • Demonstrated to be safe and effective in large phase three clinical trials
  • Authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Manufactured and distributed safely and securely

Visit the CDC Website to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines.

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