News | Aug. 19, 2021

Protect Yourself from COVID-19 Variants

By TRICARE Communications

As scientists and health experts work to learn more about COVID-19, they’re urging you to keep your guard up. The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to change through mutation, which has caused new variants of the virus to appear in many places around the world. The variant of most concern right now in the U.S. is the Delta variant.
 
“What we’re learning about the Delta variant is that it’s more contagious and causes a more severe illness than other coronavirus variants,” said Donna Hoffman, a nurse practitioner at the Defense Health Agency (DHA) Immunization Health Care Division. “This variant may increase the risk of hospitalization or death among those who aren’t vaccinated. So, it’s critical that you continue to take precautions to protect yourself and your family.”
 
Do your part by getting vaccinated
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine remains one of the best measures you can take to protect your health during the pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against severe disease and death from variants. This includes the Delta variant, and it’s further evidence that the COVID-19 vaccines work.
 
“If you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, we encourage you to do so,” said Ann Morse, a family nurse practitioner at DHA North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub. “We’ve known for a while now that the vaccines greatly reduce your risk of severe illness from COVID-19, even if you experience a breakthrough infection. But now there’s new evidence that fully vaccinated people who get the virus may be infectious for less time than those who haven’t been fully vaccinated.”
 
The vaccines are also safe. None of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized and recommended by the Food and Drug Administration contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means you can’t get sick with COVID-19 from the vaccine. The side effects that you may experience after getting the shot are normal signs that your body is building protection against infection. The chance of having complications from the COVID-19 vaccines remain very rare. Experts say the risk of getting sick from COVID-19 is far greater than the risk of rare complications from the vaccine. Visit Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work to learn more about the different types of vaccines and how they’re monitored for safety.
 
Continue to follow the latest mask guidance
Since the start of the pandemic, face masks have been another important tool in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Masks act as a barrier to prevent respiratory droplets from spreading when you sneeze or cough. And they remain crucial with the emergence of the Delta variant. As stated by the CDC, “To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.”
 
In response, many businesses and workplaces, including the Department of Defense (DoD), have updated their mask policy. In a July 28 memo signed by Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks, the DoD announced that anyone at a DoD installation must wear a mask when indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. Those who aren’t vaccinated should continue to social distance as recommended by CDC and DoD Force Health Protection guidance.
 
Make sure you wear your mask properly
Have you been wearing your mask over your nose and mouth? If not, make sure you start. Masks that don’t fully cover your nose and mouth aren’t effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19. When choosing a mask, make sure it:
  • Has two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric
  • Completely covers your nose and mouth
  • Fits snugly against sides of your face and doesn’t have gaps
  • Has a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask
 
Visit Your Guide to Masks for more tips on how to properly wear and wash masks.
 
Remember, the Delta variant is highly transmissible. So, do your part to protect yourself and others. Wear a mask, wash your hands, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and get vaccinated. Even if you’ve already had COVID-19 before, the CDC still recommends you get vaccinated. This may provide you with additional protection against reinfection.
 
For more on Delta and other COVID-19 variants, go to the CDC website. Ready to get your COVID-19 vaccine? Visit the TRICARE website for links to Department of Defense vaccination sites and other options for where you can get the vaccine.

At the time of posting, this information is current. Visit www.cdc.gov or TRICARE COVID Guidance for the most current COVID-19 information.
TRICARE Overseas Program Handbook cover

Living Overseas? Here’s a Handbook to Help You ...

News
Nov. 23, 2021

Have you and your family recently moved overseas? If so, you’re likely adjusting to new people and new...
Read More
Child receives COVID-19 vaccination

TRICARE Beneficiaries Ages 5-11 Now Eligible for...

News
Nov. 18, 2021

On Nov. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech...
Read More
Woman on laptop

Answering Your Questions About TRICARE Explanati...

News
Nov. 16, 2021

Have you seen your doctor recently? If so, you should have access to an explanation of benefits (EOB). What is...
Read More
Man looks at cellphone

TRICARE Overseas Program Beneficiaries: Download...

News
Nov. 10, 2021

Finding the health care resources you need can be difficult, especially if you’re living or traveling...
Read More
Mom holds baby while on laptop

TRICARE Open Season Starts Today, Explore Your O...

News
Nov. 08, 2021

Autumn is upon us. That means it’s time to consider your health care options for 2022. TRICARE Open Season...
Read More
Family members welcome airmen home

Review Your TRICARE Health Plan Costs for 2022

News
Nov. 05, 2021

The New Year is almost here. This means annual cost changes for most TRICARE health plans, starting Jan. 1...
Read More
A person examines a prescription medicine bottle

Changes Coming to TRICARE Retail Network Pharmacies

News
Nov. 03, 2021

There are changes coming soon to the TRICARE retail pharmacy network. Starting Dec. 15, 2021, CVS Pharmacy...
Read More
Two kids playing outside

Recent Updates Provide More Help for New Autism ...

News
Nov. 02, 2021

Are you and your family new to the TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD)? If you are, you’ll experience...
Read More

Nov. 23, 2021

Living Overseas? Here’s a Handbook to Help You Explore Your TRICARE Coverage

Have you and your family recently moved overseas? If so, you’re likely adjusting to new people and new surroundings. You may also have questions about how your TRICARE coverage works overseas. The good news is that the TRICARE Overseas Program Handbook highlights helpful information and resources, so that you can get the care you need.

Nov. 18, 2021

TRICARE Beneficiaries Ages 5-11 Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

On Nov. 2, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorsed the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. It’s the latest of several important steps taken by the federal government to end the pandemic.

Nov. 16, 2021

Answering Your Questions About TRICARE Explanation of Benefits

Have you seen your doctor recently? If so, you should have access to an explanation of benefits (EOB). What is an EOB? It’s an itemized statement that shows the action TRICARE has taken on claims filed by you or your provider. An EOB isn’t a bill. But it will identify what health care services you received and how your TRICARE plan will cover the costs.

Nov. 10, 2021

TRICARE Overseas Program Beneficiaries: Download New MyCare Overseas App

Finding the health care resources you need can be difficult, especially if you’re living or traveling overseas. That’s why International SOS Government Services, Inc., the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) contractor, created MyCare Overseas. This is a new self-service tool for those enrolled in TOP Prime, TOP Prime Remote, or TOP Select. And it helps you get all of the information you need from one place.

Nov. 8, 2021

TRICARE Open Season Starts Today, Explore Your Options

Autumn is upon us. That means it’s time to consider your health care options for 2022. TRICARE Open Season begins today, Monday, Nov. 8 and ends Monday, Dec. 13. If you’re enrolled in or eligible for a TRICARE Prime option or TRICARE Select, open season applies to you. This is your chance to enroll in a health plan or change health plans for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2022.

Nov. 5, 2021

Review Your TRICARE Health Plan Costs for 2022

The New Year is almost here. This means annual cost changes for most TRICARE health plans, starting Jan. 1. Cost changes reflect decisions made by Congress, cost-of-living adjustments, changes to the cost of health care services and drugs, and more.

Nov. 3, 2021

Changes Coming to TRICARE Retail Network Pharmacies

There are changes coming soon to the TRICARE retail pharmacy network. Starting Dec. 15, 2021, CVS Pharmacy will join the TRICARE network. At the same time, Walmart, Sam’s Club, and some community pharmacies will leave the network

Nov. 2, 2021

Recent Updates Provide More Help for New Autism Care Demonstration Enrollees

Are you and your family new to the TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD)? If you are, you’ll experience exciting improvements to the program. TRICARE is assigning an autism services navigator (ASN) to every ACD participant who entered the program on or after Oct. 1, 2021.

Oct. 26, 2021

Are You Prepared for Flu Season? Let TRICARE Help

Flu season is here once again. Are you prepared? With the COVID-19 Delta variant continuing to spread and our health care system overburdened, it’s important for all of us to help combat the spread of flu. And the best way to do so is to get a flu shot.

Oct. 21, 2021

Pregnancy Health Alert: COVID-19 Vaccine is Strongly Recommended

If you are pregnant, recently pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant in the future, you should get the COVID-19 vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised in a recent health advisory.

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.