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Ask the Doc: COVID Courageous

Image of Spc. Andrew Buchtan, 1-4 Infantry Regiment medic, vaccinates Command Sgt. Maj. Deondre Long, Battalion Command Sergeant Major of 1-4 Infantry Regiment. Long said “I got the vaccination shot today because I did not want my leadership style to change. I am an engaged leader. The shot will enable me to develop a better relationship with my soldiers. It will help better interact with them without a standoffish leadership.” (US Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua). Spc. Andrew Buchtan, 1-4 Infantry Regiment medic, vaccinates Command Sgt. Maj. Deondre Long, Battalion Command Sergeant Major of 1-4 Infantry Regiment. Long said “I got the vaccination shot today because I did not want my leadership style to change. I am an engaged leader. The shot will enable me to develop a better relationship with my soldiers. It will help better interact with them without a standoffish leadership.” (US Army photo by Sgt. Julian Padua).

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Dear Doc: I was afraid about getting my COVID vaccine at first and even entertained the thought of not getting it at all, but now that most of my friends and coworkers have gotten their first dose and some have even gotten their second, I think I'm ready. It seems pretty safe. That being said, now I need to know what I'm supposed to do to get it done. My wife wants to get hers as well but isn't sure how to go about doing it as a dependent. Is there a difference? Are there different ways of getting an appointment? What do we have to do? Any help would be much appreciated.

COVID Courageous 

Illustration of a female face with the words "Ask the Doc"

Dear Courageous: Depending on where you are, there are different ways of going about getting yourself and your wife set up for vaccination appointments. Luckily, we’ve got people here who can help you out! I talked to Air Force Lt. Col. Regina Tow, Project Manager for Defense Health Agency COVID-19 Vaccine Information Technology Planning and here's what she had to say about getting in to get vaccinated:


At most of our DOD vaccination sites you’ll need to book an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There are several tools to help with this process. Some sites are using TRICARE Online (TOL), a select few are using the MHS GENESIS Patient Portal, many are using the new DHA Appointing Portal (DAP) and some of the smaller locations have a number listed to call for an appointment.

To make it easier on everyone, we set up a website with information on the DOD vaccination sites and their preferred methods of scheduling appointments. Whether you are a military member, a family member or any other eligible and authorized DOD beneficiary, you can get the COVID-19 vaccine at our DOD vaccination sites. When you’re ready to make an appointment, I recommend you visit the COVID-19 Department of Defense Vaccine Appointments webpage to see what appointment tools your local military hospital, clinic or DOD vaccination site is using. If you live outside of the U.S., I encourage you to visit the overseas COVID-19 vaccine appointments page. All beneficiaries can use either of these webpages to make their COVID-19 vaccine appointments, for both first and second doses, as applicable.

In some cases, DOD vaccination sites may not be listed. If you don’t see your location you should contact your military hospital, clinic or DOD vaccination site directly to find out about their vaccination process. You can click on the following link to find the webpage for your chosen military hospital or clinic.

Our military hospitals and clinics are doing their best to make COVID-19 appointments available for all eligible and authorized TRICARE beneficiaries as vaccine supply increases. In some cases, you may need to check in regularly with your military hospital or clinic to learn when new appointments will be posted.

If a military hospital, clinic, or DOD vaccination site isn’t an option for you, or you don’t want to wait for an appointment, you have other options for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. To find your other local options, go to here to see what is available in your area.

The COVID-19 vaccine is free, but there may be a cost based on your health plan if you receive the vaccine during an office visit with a provider, or if you need follow-on care. If you have any additional questions, or concerns about possible costs, reach out to your TRICARE contractor for more information. Additionally, active-duty service members in the U.S. or a U.S. territory no longer need a referral or authorization to get the COVID-19 vaccine outside of the Military Health System. Just remember, if you do receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a non-military facility, please bring your documentation in to your assigned military medical treatment facility to ensure your immunization records are updated.

Even after you are vaccinated, we hope you will keep doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Help us by continuing to follow the CDC’s recommendations. Doing so will protect your health and those around you.


Courageous, This should help you get out there and get vaccinated, no matter where you are. Explore the options that are open to you and your family and decide from there. Like Lt. Col. Tow explained, there are plenty of options and plenty of tools to help you find what works best for you.

And I think I can speak for everyone here at DHA when I say, “Thank you,” for making the choice to get vaccinated.

As always…take care out there!

–Doc


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