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Know Which Vaccines You Need and How TRICARE Covers Them

Image of Know Which Vaccines You Need and How TRICARE Covers Them. Staff Sgt. Adrienne O'Neil-Busick, a medical technician with the 507th Medical Squadron, administers a flu vaccine to a member of the 507th Air Refueling Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. Dec. 3, 2022. Influenza vaccination is mandatory for uniformed personnel and health care personnel who provide direct patient care and is recommended for all others. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Grady Epperly)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Vaccines play a vital role in helping people around the world live longer, healthier lives. In fact, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical invention, according to the World Health Organization.

“Getting vaccinated is one of the safest, most effective things you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from a variety of diseases and prevent serious illness, disability, and even death,” said Jeannine Pickrell, RN, nurse consultant for Disease Management & Population Health at the Defense Health Agency. “That’s why it’s important to stay up to date on vaccinations throughout your life.”

It’s easy to get the vaccines you need. TRICARE covers age-appropriate doses of vaccines, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. When you follow your plan’s rules, you can get these vaccines at no cost.

Read on to learn more about getting yourself and your family vaccinated.

Vaccines From Birth Through 18 Years

People need vaccines starting at birth. When kids get vaccines on time, they’re protected from 14 potentially serious diseases before age 2. After age 2, kids should receive booster doses of certain vaccines. Older kids can get vaccines to protect against HPV and meningococcal disease.

Your child’s provider will help you follow the recommended immunization schedule. This schedule balances when kids are most likely to be exposed to a disease and when the vaccine will be most effective. If your child has missed a dose of a vaccine, talk to their provider about how to get back on schedule.

Vaccines for Adults

Adults need vaccines and booster shots too. This is because immunity from some childhood vaccines can wear off over time. Adults are also more at risk for certain diseases, like shingles, than kids are.

Talk to your provider about what vaccines you may need. These may vary based on your age, occupation, and vaccination history and if your medical history means you have certain risk factors. If you’re pregnant, your provider may recommend that you get certain vaccines during pregnancy.

Vaccines for Overseas Travel

Before you go to certain countries, you may need to get vaccines that people in the U.S. don’t get routinely. TRICARE covers these vaccines if you’re an active duty sponsor or active duty family member on permanent change of duty station orders or other official travel. Keep in mind that TRICARE doesn’t cover vaccines needed for personal travel overseas.

Where To Get Vaccinated

You can get covered vaccines at these locations:

1. Military hospitals and clinics: Use the Military Hospital or Clinic Locator to find a facility near you. Then call ahead to make sure the vaccine you need is available. If you have TRICARE Prime, you have priority at these facilities. But if you’re enrolled in the US Family Health Plan, you aren’t eligible to use military hospitals and clinics.

2. TRICARE-authorized providers: You can get covered vaccines from any TRICARE-authorized provider at no cost. However, if you receive other services at the same time, you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares. These costs vary based on your health plan. Don’t forget: If you’re enrolled in a TRICARE Prime plan, it’s best to visit your primary care manager or a network provider to avoid point-of-service fees.

Routine vaccinations are included in well-child care visits for kids from birth through 5 years. They’re also included in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention exams for kids and adults ages 6 through 21 years.

3. TRICARE retail network pharmacies: You can get some covered vaccines for $0 at participating network pharmacies. However, make sure the person who gives you the vaccine is a pharmacist. If another type of provider gives you a vaccine at a participating pharmacy, you may have out-of-pocket costs.

Go to Immunizations for a list of vaccines you can get through the TRICARE Retail Vaccination Program. Then use the Find a Pharmacy Tool to find a participating pharmacy. Call the pharmacy or visit its website to learn if you need to make an appointment and to make sure it has the vaccine you need.

If you have questions about vaccines, talk to your provider. For more info on vaccine coverage, check out Immunizations.

Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

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