Q&A: What Are My COVID-19 Vaccination Options Overseas?
Falls Church, VA, May 19, 2021 - The fight against COVID-19 isn’t over yet. But we’ve seen major progress made along the way. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), COVID-19 vaccination is an important tool to help us get back to a more normal way of life. And now more TRICARE families overseas are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you or your family members still need to get the vaccine, TRICARE is here to help you navigate your options.
If you’re living overseas and have questions about how you can get the COVID-19 vaccine, here are some questions and answers that may help.
Question: When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available where I live?
Answer: COVID-19 vaccine availability overseas varies depending on the location. However, the Department of Defense (DoD) is working to increase vaccine availability as supply increases. This means more COVID-19 vaccines will arrive overseas and more vaccine appointments will become available to all overseas personnel and their families. International SOS Government Services, Inc. is also working closely with local health authorities and can help guide beneficiaries based on their local health care options and procedures of the country they’re in.
Active duty service members (ADSMs) should get the vaccine at a military hospital or clinic, or DoD vaccination site. If you’re assigned to a U.S. Embassy, you can also get the vaccine from a U.S. Embassy Health Unit.
Question: Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine at a military hospital or clinic?
Answer: Yes. You can get the COVID-19 vaccine at any overseas military hospital or clinic that offers it. And you aren’t required to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same military hospital or clinic that you get your routine care from. You can see a list of military hospitals and clinics offering the vaccine on the TRICARE website. Keep in mind, if you’re an ADSM, you should get the vaccine at a military hospital or clinic, DoD vaccination site, or through a U.S. Embassy Health Unit if you’re assigned to the embassy.
Question: How do I schedule my COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a military hospital or clinic?
Answer: If the COVID-19 vaccine is available at your local military hospital or clinic, you may be able to make an appointment by phone or online. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) has several online tools to help you schedule an appointment to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a military hospital, clinic, or vaccination site:
Keep in mind, not all military hospitals and clinics use the same tools. Be sure to check their website to see which tool they use. You can also go to the Overseas COVID Vaccine Locations page to see a list of some overseas military hospitals and clinics and the scheduling tools they use.
Question: What are my options to get the COVID-19 vaccine outside of a military hospital?
Answer: If you’re an ADSM, you should get the vaccine at a military hospital or clinic, or through a U.S. Embassy Health Unit. You must be assigned to the embassy to get your vaccine there. For other TRICARE beneficiaries, your other options may include a network pharmacy (if you live in certain U.S. territories) and non-network overseas pharmacies.
Other vaccination options may include:
Local health department COVID-19 vaccination sites in U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
Pharmacies in certain U.S. territories participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program (network and non-network)
Your overseas civilian provider
A vaccination program offered by your host country
Note that certain COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by foreign governments and offered by your overseas civilian provider or a host country’s vaccination program may be approved for use by a certifying body that’s not the U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration.
Question: Is the COVID-19 vaccine free overseas?
Answer: Yes. However, there may be a cost based on your health plan for an office visit with a provider, or if you need follow-on care. You can reach out to the TRICARE Overseas Program contractor if you have questions.
Keep doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19. And be sure to follow the CDC’s recommendations once you’ve been fully vaccinated. Doing so will help protect your health and those around you.