Over 1 million military retirees and spouses over the age of 75 are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as Tricare for Life beneficiaries.
According to Tricare’s update on Thursday, availability of the vaccine may depend on location, and officials are working on multiple options to help military hospitals and clinics reach out to potential patients.
“If you’re age 75 or older, you can watch for news from your local military hospital or clinic. You can visit your military hospital’s website, news media, or social media to stay informed about vaccine updates. You should contact your local military hospital or clinic for their vaccination process and availability,” the website stated, adding that vaccines will become more available and able to be distributed more broadly in the months ahead.
On its website, Tricare stated that the organization is working to “ensure you have no out-of-pocket costs” to receive the new COVID-19 vaccination. In the future, the vaccine will be available to all Tricare beneficiaries at local military hospitals or clinics, civilian medical providers and network pharmacies, but Tricare advises all patients to check on availability prior to arriving at a facility.
“The vaccination of DoD health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities is well underway,” said Air Force Col. Tonya Rans, chief of the Immunization Healthcare Division at the Defense Health Agency. “If you’re age 75 or older, you’re now encouraged to access COVID-19 vaccines at your closest military hospital or clinic.”
Military Times reported that some locations are even extending availability to those aged 65 and above, as well as individuals with underlying conditions.
Military treatment facilities across the United States are in varying stages of vaccine distribution, with some only beginning to vaccinate their medical staff this week. When additional doses become available, the number of eligible beneficiaries will also expand.
“According to the CDC, adults age 75 and older are at eight times higher risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 infection than younger, healthy adults,” the Tricare website stated. “All COVID-19 vaccines that are currently available in the U.S. have shown to be highly effective at preventing the virus. There are currently two authorized COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S., and each require you take two doses to be fully effective.”
According to Military Times, numerous service members, retirees and families are waiting for their turn to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.
For more information on vaccination availability in civilian communities, visit the Center for Disease Control website here.