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News | May 15, 2024

Unlock Your Health by Getting Vaccinated

By Military Health System Communications

Vaccines are crucial for extending lives and promoting good health globally. According to the World Health Organization, vaccines have saved more lives than any other medical innovation.

“Getting vaccinated is one of the most effective and easy things you can do to prevent diseases, serious illness, and disability-- even death,” said Jeanine Pickrell, Clinical Nurse and SME Disease Management/Population Health. “It’s so important to protect yourself and your loved ones by staying up to date on vaccinations.”

TRICARE covers age-appropriate doses of vaccines, based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations.

It’s easy to get your free vaccines at military hospitals and clinics in the National Capital Region (NCR). Here's your guide to getting vaccines at any age.

Vaccines from birth through 18 years

Vaccines should start at birth. When delivered on time, vaccines protect kids from 14 potentially serious diseases before age 2. After age 2, kids need booster doses of certain vaccines. Older kids can also get vaccines to protect against human papilloma virus (HPV) and meningococcal disease.

Your child’s provider will recommend an immunization schedule. This schedule balances when kids are most at risk for exposure to a disease and when the vaccine will work the best. If your child misses a vaccine dose, their provider will advise you how to get back on schedule.

Vaccines for adults

Adults need vaccines and boosters, too. It’s normal for immunity from some childhood vaccines to 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 will vary based on factors like:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Vaccination history
  • Other risk factors and medical history

If you’re pregnant, your provider may also recommend that you get certain vaccines to protect you and your baby during pregnancy.

Vaccines for overseas travel

Before you go to certain countries, you may need to get additional vaccines. TRICARE covers these vaccines if you’re an active duty sponsor or active duty family member on permanent change of station (PCS) orders or other official travel.

While TRICARE doesn’t cover vaccines needed for personal travel overseas, you may still be able to get these vaccines through your provider.

Where to get vaccinated

Use the military hospital and clinic locator to find a nearby military hospital or clinic that offers vaccines. If you have TRICARE Prime, you have priority at these facilities.

Looking to get vaccinated soon? It’s a good idea to call your local immunization clinic to confirm their hours and make sure the vaccine you need is available.

If you have questions about vaccines, talk to your provider at your next visit. You can also check out more information about vaccine coverage.

Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.