FALLS CHURCH, Virginia –
Protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 this fall and winter. Updated COVID-19 vaccines are now available for people ages 6 months and older.
“Getting the updated vaccine can enhance your protection against the COVID-19 variants currently responsible for most infections and increasing hospitalizations in the United States,” said Capt. John Iskander, MD, MPH, chief, Immunization Healthcare Division, Defense Health Agency. “Hospitalization rates are highest in infants and older adults.”
Here’s what you need to know about the updated vaccine and protecting yourself from COVID-19.
Q: How does TRICARE cover the updated vaccine?
A: There are three ways you can get the updated COVID-19 vaccine at no cost:
- Go to a military hospital or clinic. Call ahead to make sure the vaccine is available.
- Go to a TRICARE retail network pharmacy. 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.
- See a TRICARE-authorized provider. However, if you get other services at the same time, you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares. These costs vary based on your health plan.
Q: Which vaccines have been updated?
A: The mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech have been updated for 2023–2024. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet approved or authorized an updated Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. As a result, the original Novavax vaccine can still be given as a primary series or booster dose if it’s determined that the individual shouldn’t wait for a 2023–2024 Novavax COVID-19 vaccine. The Novavax booster is authorized for people ages 18 and older.
Q: Who should get the updated vaccine?
A: Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the updated vaccine. Follow these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Q: Why should I get the updated COVID-19 vaccine?
A: The virus that causes COVID-19 is always changing, and protection from COVID-19 vaccines declines over time, says the CDC. In addition to helping you prevent hospitalization and death related to COVID-19, the updated vaccine can reduce your chance of developing Long COVID.
Q: How else can I protect myself against COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses?
A: Vaccination is the first tool in your toolbox for respiratory virus season. In addition to the updated COVID-19 vaccine, you can also get your annual flu vaccine. And for the first time, vaccines are available to protect infants, children, and adults ages 60 and older from RSV.
Practicing good health habits can also help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. Take these steps when you feel well or sick:
- Stay home if you feel sick or test positive for COVID-19.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Stay in well-ventilated spaces.
- Wear a well-fitting mask if you’re at risk or if COVID-19 hospitalizations are high in your area.
Go to www.tricare.mil/covid to learn more about how TRICARE covers COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatment.
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