Back to Top Skip to main content

MHS emphasizes importance of vaccinations

Healthcare worker giving vaccine to soldier; both wearing masks Navy Seaman Jared Doherty administers a vaccine to a Marine with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit during an exercise at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, to increase theater force health protection readiness. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Patrick Crosley)

Recommended Content:

TRICARE Health Program | Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted everyday routines, including keeping up with health care appointments for non-emergency needs such as vaccinations. And while physically attending day care, secondary school, and university campuses this fall remains undecided in many locales, Military Health System immunization experts recommend that parents start thinking about their children's vaccination requirements now.

These MHS experts will answer beneficiaries' questions about vaccinations during a "Chat with TRICARE" real-time event, 3-4 p.m. EDT Thursday, July 23, on the TRICARE Facebook page. Participating are Air Force Col. (Dr.) Tonya S. Rans, chief of the Defense Health Agency's Immunization Healthcare Division; Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ruth Brenner, division deputy chief; and Ann Morse, a family nurse  practitioner and registered nurse with the division's North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub’s Satellite Office at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia.

"To provide the best protection and prevent disease, vaccines are designed to be administered in a certain number of doses over a certain period of time," said Catherine Skerrett, an advance practice registered nurse and family nurse practitioner with the division's Central Region Vaccine Safety Hub.

"When a vaccine dose is missed, a person may not be fully protected," she said.

For those beneficiaries who may have missed vaccine doses during the pandemic, "a catch-up vaccine schedule provides the best protection against disease as quickly as possible," Skerrett said. "Working with your provider, this schedule is individualized."

The catch-up vaccine schedule is based on the number of doses in a series, any doses already received, the person's age at previous dose and current age, and the minimum interval that's usually permitted between doses, she said.

Skerrett also notes that immunization requirements for enrolling in day care and K-12 schools are determined by each state, following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Colleges and universities may require immunizations in addition to these state mandates, she said.

For example, among the vaccines that some states require are for hepatitis A, which is a two-dose series, and hepatitis B, a three-dose series. Both hepatitis A and B are serious diseases caused by a virus that attacks the liver.

In addition, 24 states require the meningococcal vaccine for incoming college students, Skerrett said. Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacteria that's spread through respiratory and throat secretions, according to the CDC. It can lead to serious and even deadly infections of the brain, spinal cord, and bloodstream.

Diseases other than COVID-19 "have not gone away, and we need to keep preventing those other infections by immunizing ourselves and our children,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Brian D. Robertson, chief of Allergy and Immunology Service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The service began a drive-up immunization clinic in May to serve beneficiaries during the pandemic.

The clinic was set up as a temporary tent structure in a parking lot to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 within the hospital. It offers all immunizations typically given in the indoor clinic.

At other MTFs, the primary care clinics are reviewing data to see which beneficiaries' immunizations are overdue, and developing plans to reach out to schedule a time and location to provide immunizations safely, said Regina Julian, chief of the Defense Health Agency's Healthcare Optimization Division.

“Ensuring our pediatric population is up-to-date on their needed immunizations is a major DHA priority," Julian said. She recommends beneficiaries check their MTF's webpage or social media page for any updates. In addition, she encourages beneficiaries to contact their MTFs directly by calling the appointing center or immunizations clinic, or by sending a secure message to their health care team to find out the process for getting caught up on immunizations.

For beneficiaries interested in participating in the live Q&A, MHS experts offer the following guidelines:

  • Don't post personally identifiable information.
  • Don't refer to any specific health conditions or names of other individuals.
  • Stay on topic, be respectful, and tell the truth.
  • Add value to the conversation.
  • Don't spam by sending irrelevant or unsolicited messages.

More information about participating in the live chat can be found on the MHS social media webpage.

You also may be interested in...

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

DHA-IPM 20-004: Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation

Policy

This Defense Health Agency (DHA) Interim Procedures Memorandum (IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (d), and in accordance with the guidance cited in References (e) through (aa), establishes the DHA’s procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. This DHA-IPM applies to DHA, DHA Components (activities under the authority direction, and control of the DHA), Military Departments (MILDEP), and the United States Coast Guard (CG). This DHA-IPM cancels and replaces DHA-IPM 20-004, “Department of Defense (DoD) Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Implementation,” December 13, 2020.

Supplemental Guidance for Providing DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccines to DoD Contractor Employees and Select Foreign Nationals

Policy

This memorandum provides supplemental guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, in accordance with reference (a). The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components as appropriate.

HA Guidance for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Laboratory Pre-Testing Questionnaire

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance for a COVID-19 laboratory pre-testing questionnaire that will be mandatory for all Active Duty Service members and encouraged for all other DoD beneficiaries treated at military medical treatment facilities.

Executive Order on Ensuring Access to United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines

Policy

This EO outlines who should receive priority access to COVID-19 vaccines developed in the United States or procured by the United States Government (“United States Government COVID-19 Vaccines”).

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccine Guidance

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the provision of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is the lead coordinating DoD Component for executing this guidance, in coordination with the Military Departments and other DoD Components.

DHA-AI 3020-01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), based on the authority of References (a) through (b) and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (z3), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This DHA-AI also provides a preventive plan to monitor and assess for the appearance of new cases and implement those processes that will prevent them from impacting the workforce. The processes describe herein are intended to offer an actionable plan for the workforce to re-enter DHA Administrative Offices. See Appendix 1 for a summary of the DHA Administrative Office Reopening Plan. The plan uses the Force Health Protection Guidance and Health Protection Conditions (HPCON), in accordance with Reference (d), to ensure protection for the workforce, including the most vulnerable-to-serious complications from the virus while enabling DHA Administrative Offices to continue its mission. See Appendix 2 for the conceptual HPCON framework.

  • Identification #: 3020-01
  • Date: 11/3/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA-PI 6025.34: Guidance for the DoD Influenza Vaccination Program (IVP)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), implements instructions, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the DoD Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) Seasonal influenza vaccination program.

DHA AI 3020.01: Return to the Workplace Staffing Plan in the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Environment

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Administrative Instruction (DHA-AI), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) plan to return to full operations and support the whole-of-government response, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and in preparation for regression or resurgence in COVID-19 cases that could impact the workforce.

  • Identification #: DHA AI 3020.01
  • Date: 6/12/2020
  • Type: Administrative Instructions
  • Topics: Coronavirus

DHA IPM 20-002: Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccination Program. All Active Duty, Selected Reserve, and National Guard members receive an annual influenza vaccination. Personnel who are traveling to, conducting a permanent change of station to, or are located in the Southern Hemisphere will receive the Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine or obtain an exemption (e.g., medical or administrative) in accordance with guidance in paragraph 6.a. of Attachment 2. Military personnel residing in the Southern Hemisphere who have received the Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine in accordance with Appendix 1, meet the annual influenza immunization requirement.

TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Out-of-Pocket Expenses for Calendar Year 2020

Policy

Memo outlining the TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses for calendar year 2020. These rates will be effective January l, 2020.

DHA IPM 19-006: 2019–2020 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program (IVP)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (o), implementing instructions, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the seasonal influenza vaccination program. • This DHA-IPM cancels and reissues DHA-IPM 18-005. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately and will expire 12 months from the date of issue.

DODI 6205.02 DOD Immunization Program

Policy

Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures to establish a uniform DoD immunization program, in accordance with the authority in DoDD 6200.04 and DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1010.10.

Methodology Determination of 2020 Premium Rates for TRICARE Reserve Select

Policy

This document describes how the calendar year 2020 TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) premium rates were calculated

Memorandum to Establish 2020 Premium Rates for TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRICARE Young Adult, and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program

Policy

Calendar Year 2020 premium rates are established for TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRI CARE Young Adult, and Fiscal Year 2020 premium rates for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.

<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.