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News | May 26, 2022

Get the Latest COVID-19 Info on Boosters and Treatment

By TRICARE Communications

Are you continuing to protect yourself against COVID-19? Scientific evidence shows that the COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses are effective in protecting people. They protect people both from infection and especially from severe outcomes of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending a second COVID-19 booster for people in certain groups, and a first booster for children ages 5 through 11.
 
“As of now, a second booster dose is recommended for people who are at higher risk of severe outcomes of COVID-19,” said Dr. Jay Montgomery, Immunization Healthcare Division’s medical director of the North Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub. “We know that the protection of previous dosages does diminish somewhat over time and, for some, a second booster dose could help increase protection. TRICARE beneficiaries are encouraged to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes a booster for many people.”
 
Who is eligible for the second booster?
This varies based on your age, your health status, what vaccine you first received, and when you first got vaccinated. According to the CDC, an additional booster is available for certain people who got their first booster at least four months ago.
 
Right now, the eligibility rules for the second booster are as follows:
  • Adults age 50 and older can receive either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster.
  • Children ages 12 to 17 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised can receive a Pfizer-BioNTech booster.
  • People age 18 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised can receive either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster.
  • People age 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine (one primary dose and one booster) can receive either a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster.
 
What about children ages 5 and older?
The CDC now recommends that children ages 5 through 11 should receive a booster shot five months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series.
 
Why should you get the booster?
If you haven’t received your first booster dose yet, you should get it. Data continues to show that you’re protected best from severe COVID-19 illness when you stay up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and booster. During the Omicron surge, the CDC reported that those who got the first booster were 21-times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to those who were unvaccinated. They were also 7-times less likely to be hospitalized.
 
An Armed Forces Health Surveillance Division study also reported that active duty service members who got the booster during the winter surge of the Omicron variant were much less likely to get COVID-19 or show symptoms of the disease.
 
Where can you get the booster?
You can get the booster shot at:  
Like the COVID-19 vaccine, additional booster shots are free for everyone. If you aren’t on active duty, you may have a cost for an office visit when seeing a civilian provider. You may also have costs if you need follow-on care. 
 
What if you test positive for COVID-19?
The government established a Test to Treat program in March for people who test positive for the virus. Two oral COVID-19 medications that effectively treat COVID-19 symptoms are now available. To get these medications, you can go through:
  • Your doctor
  • Military pharmacies
  • Retail pharmacies
  • Some health clinics
 
The oral antiviral medications are Paxlovid and molnupiravir. They have shown to be highly effective in preventing severe disease and hospitalization. They’re an important new way to fight the effects of COVID-19. If you have COVID-19 symptoms and test positive, don’t wait to get treated. You must take the drugs within five days of your first COVID-19 symptoms. To find a Test to Treat location near you, check out the locator page.
 
Keep up with the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and boosters from the CDC and TRICARE. Be sure to talk to your health care provider about your vaccine questions. Your provider can help you review all your options and help you choose your COVID-19 booster.
 
At the time of posting, this information is current. Visit www.cdc.gov or TRICARE COVID Guidance for the most current COVID-19 information.
 
Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.
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