As of Sept. 28, 2021
Q: Are COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for Soldiers?
A: Every Soldier who is not otherwise exempt will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to ensure our Soldiers and units are ready to fight and win. This is a readiness, health, and welfare priority for the entire U.S. Army.
Q: What vaccines will Soldiers be required to receive?
A: Currently, the only mandatory COVID-19 vaccine is the FDA-Approved Pfizer- Comirnaty COVID-19 Vaccine. Service members may choose to voluntarily receive any FDA Emergency Use Authorization or World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing vaccine to meet the vaccination requirement.
Q: Can Soldiers be required to receive a vaccine if the specific product was manufactured prior to full FDA approval?
A: Yes. The FDA approval applies to any batch of the approved vaccine, regardless of date of manufacture.
Q: What is the U.S. Army’s deadline for full vaccination?
A: Active duty units are expected to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 15, 2021 and Reserve and National Guard units are expected to be fully vaccinated by June 30, 2022. The U.S. Army ordered all commanders to begin implementing the Secretary of Defense’s order requiring all Service members to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on August 24. The Army’s vaccine mandate order provides further implementation instructions, and as with any other readiness requirement, commanders are responsible for ensuring their unit’s overall compliance.
Q: What if a Soldier already completed an EUA or WHO authorized series of COVID-19 vaccines, do they have to start over with the FDA-approved vaccine?
A: Soldiers who have completed an Emergency Use Authorization or World Health Organization authorized series are considered fully vaccinated and not required to start the series again with the FDA approved vaccine.
Q: Are Soldiers who previously had COVID-19 considered vaccinated?
A: No. Service members are only considered fully vaccinated two weeks post completion of a two-dose series vaccine or two weeks post completion of a single dose vaccine.
Q: How does a Soldier request a medical exemption?
A: Soldiers who believe they require a medical exemption should consult with their Primary Care Manager. The PCM will determine a medical exemption based on the health of the vaccine candidate and the nature of the immunization under consideration. Medical exemptions may be temporary (up to 365 days) or permanent.
COVID VACCINE BOOSTERS
Q: Should I get a COVID booster shot?
A: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for use of a single booster dose, to be administered at least six months after completion of the primary series in:
- Individuals 65 years of age and older
- Individuals 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe
- Individuals 18 through 64 years of age whose frequent institutional
- or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2 puts them at high risk of serious
- complications of COVID-19 including severe COVID-19. According to the CDC,
- those occupations include:
- First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police,
- congregate care staff)
- Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)
- Food and agriculture workers
- Manufacturing workers
- Corrections Facility workers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Public transit workers
- Grocery store workers
Boosters are only recommended for people in the categories above who originally received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. In the coming weeks, Army Medical Treatment Facilities will post information on their
websites and Facebook pages with details on making a booster appointment. At this time, boosters are completely voluntary.
For the rest of our military community, the FDA does NOT recommend boosters for those who are fully vaccinated with the Moderna or Janssen vaccines at this time. If that guidance changes, we will let the community know.
For more information on COVID-19 boosters, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/booster-shot.html
Q: I have an immunocompromised condition. Should I get an additional dose of COVID vaccine?
A: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending individuals with compromised immune systems receive an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose. As a result, we have contacted enrolled beneficiaries with immunocompromised conditions to schedule vaccine appointments.
Immunocompromised individuals in the military community who do not normally receive care in an Army Medical Treatment Facility can also schedule appointments for an additional COVID Vaccine dose by contacting their nearest Army Medical Treatment Facility or walking in to a regularly scheduled COVID-19 vaccination events.
A full listing of the immunocompromised conditions that qualify for an additional vaccine dose can be found on the CDC’s website, but include patients who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer, organ and stem cell transplant recipients, and those with advanced or untreated HIV infections. Full list here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/recommendations/immuno.html
For those who completed either a Pfizer or Moderna 2-dose mRNA vaccination series, a 3rd dose of the same vaccine product may be given. If the identical mRNA vaccine is not available, then either type of mRNA vaccine may be administered.
Presently, immunocompromised patients who received the single dose Janssen (also called the J&J) vaccine are not recommended to receive an additional vaccine dose. We expect data on this population to be forthcoming.
Q: How do I get a COVID-19 vaccination?
A: Regional Health Command Europe Medical Treatment Facilities (MTF) are vaccinating the military community as quickly as possible. To find a vaccination site near you, visit: http://www.tricare.mil/VaccineAppointments
, or visit your MTF’s Facebook page or website:
Q. Can children be vaccinated against COVID-19?
A. We are currently vaccinating 12-17 year old adolescents with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Contact your local medical treatment facility to make an appointment. To find a vaccination site near you, visit: http://www.tricare.mil/VaccineAppointments
, or visit your MTF’s Facebook page or website:
Q. What brands of COVID-19 vaccine are being used in U.S. Army Europe and Africa?
A: Currently, U.S. Army Europe is distributing the Moderna, J&J/Janssen and Pfizer/BioNTech.
Q. Can Local National employees get the COVID vaccine from our MTFs?
A. The health of our Local National employee population is very important to us and we have begun vaccinating this population with the rest of our military communities. The criticality of our Local National employees cannot be overstated. They are integrated into just about every mission from medical and emergency services to logistical and food service. We are extremely happy to have an agreement with our with host nation governments for approval to vaccinate this vital population of our communities. This will go a long way in protecting the health and well-being of our Total Force.
Q: How long will protection last following vaccination?
A. We are still learning about the duration of protection against COVID-19 and it is too early to tell how long protection will last.
Q. Can someone get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A. No, it is not possible to get COVID-19 from vaccines. Vaccines against COVID-19 use inactivated virus, parts of the virus, or a gene from the virus. None of these can cause COVID-19.
Q. Will the Department Of Defense require all service members to receive the vaccine?
A. The vaccination distribution at this time is voluntary and in accordance with the DoD guidance as part of the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) only.
Q. If I already had COVID-19, should I still get a vaccine?
A. Yes, because duration of immunity following COVID-19 infection is unknown, and the vaccine provides additional protection for previously infected people.
Q. Can I get a COVID-19 vaccination somewhere other than a Military Medical Treatment Facility?
A. To the greatest extent possible, beneficiaries who are enrolled at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) should come to the MTF to be vaccinated. This will ensure the maximum number of vaccine opportunities allocated to jurisdictions other than DoD are available for the non-DoD population. However, you can be vaccinated at any DoD MTF worldwide, based on eligibility and vaccine availability. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a ‘space-available’ basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local, or host nation, civilian jurisdiction pending availability and host nation requirements.
Q. If you are already vaccinated, can you still test positive for COVID-19?
A. The risks of COVID-19 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus. Vaccinated people could potentially still get COVID-19 and spread it to others. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to continue to practice COVID-19 safety measures like wearing a mask and practicing social distancing.
Q. What has DoD done to ensure the vaccines they are distributing are safe?
A. Vaccines and therapeutics to prevent and treat diseases are developed in stages. In Phase 1 Trials researchers test an experimental drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time. In Phase 2 Trials the experimental drug or treatment is given to a larger group of people to see if it is effective and to evaluate its safety further. In Phase 3 Trials the experimental study drug or treatment is given to very large groups of people. Researchers confirm its effectiveness, monitor side effects, compare it to commonly used treatments, and collect information that will allow the experimental drug or treatment to be used safely. Manufactures are required to submit their raw data for the FDA to review. Safety, immune response, and efficacy data from the trial stages are submitted to the FDA before they are authorized for use and distribution.
Q. What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?
A. Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. In situations when there is good scientific reason to believe that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its emergency use under specific circumstances. Vaccines authorized for emergency use are offered on a voluntary basis.
Q. Should we still wear masks and practice physical distancing once we are vaccinated?
A. Yes. We will continue to recommend wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, for everyone, until pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced.
Q. Are face masks still required in Army medical, dental or veterinary treatment facilities?
A. While the Department of Defense recently implemented a policy lifting mandatory masking requirements for those individuals who are fully vaccinated in all DoD facilities and on Federal installations, based on U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. However, masks are still required in all patient care and public areas at Army medical, dental treatment, and veterinary facilities, which is also in line with recently updated CDC guidance.
As of June 3, 2021
Q. Can I be reimbursed for a COVID test administered off post?
A. Service Members, Department of the Army Civilians, and their dependents may be reimbursed for the cost of the COVID-19 test if it is mandated by law for official travel to or from OCONUS locations and is not available through a Federal dispensary. The cost of the COVID-19 test may be reimbursable. The cost of the office visit, mileage, parking, and any other fees associated are not reimbursable. Read the memorandum: COVID-19 Travel and Transportation Allowances
for more information.
Q. Can I get tested at an Army COVID-19 Testing Site for leisure travel?
A. Army testing sites do not currently offer COVID-19 testing for non-official/leisure travel. Our Medical Treatment Facilities conduct testing for people who are either symptomatic, identified as close contacts of someone with COVID-19, are conducting official travel purposes, or require it for a medical procedure. There are a variety of testing resources available in the local community.
Q. Who can get tested at an Army MTF, and how?
A. The guidance is the same for all Army Medical Treatment Facilities here in Europe. Our MTFs screen patients in accordance with Department of Defense and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The following categories of people are eligible for testing:
- Military community members experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or those who have been exposed to COVID-19.
- New arrivals (PCS or TDY) and any community members returning from travel to the United States (official or non-official) or other locations via commercial air must undergo testing and quarantine upon arrival.
- Individuals who need testing for other official travel purposes.
Results for Service Members, Civilian employees, and contractors should be available the following day, and those of family members within the next 48-72 hours.
Q. I took a COVID-19 test on post, how do I get the results?
A. Retrieve test result through Tricare Online – ALL Active Duty, Family Members, GS Civilians and Contractors can register for a Tricare Online Account even if you do not have Tricare insurance.
Q. What happens when someone tests positive for COVID-19?
- Go to www.tricareonline.com
- Click Log in in the upper right corner to get to the portal.
- Select: Need an account? * Select: I am one of the following….
- Fill in required information.
- Complete token authentication
- Once you have an account, select Log- in
- Once logged in, click on Health Record
- Select the Laboratory Results Tab from the column on the left side of the page.
A. Personnel who test positive for COVID-19 will isolate (completely restricted to quarters) for at least 10 days following the onset of symptoms or date of positive test if you are positive without symptoms (asymptomatic). If an individual has completed 10 days in isolation since the onset of symptoms AND if the individual has been free of symptoms for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication (Tylenol, etc.) and improvement of symptoms, the individual is eligible for release. If the individual still has symptoms, he/she will remain in isolation until they meet the criteria for release. Release authority for positive individuals is a medical provider or public health worker, functioning under the authority of a supervising garrison public health emergency officer.
Q. What if one person in a family tests positive for COVID-19, what does that mean for the rest of their family?
A. A family member who tests positive for COVID-19 will be placed into isolation. The other family members are considered close contacts and are required to quarantine until eligible for release unless fully vaccinated. If any of the close contact family members develop symptoms, they will be tested and placed in isolation until eligible for release. The original COVID positive family member is not require to quarantine or isolate once they have been cleared for release by a medical provider or public health professional.
General COVID Information
Q. What are the symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection?
A: Typical symptoms for COVID-19 can include, but are not limited to: a temperature at or above 100° Fahrenheit, night sweats or chills, a persistent cough, shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, and/or sore throat.
Q. What should I do if I think I have coronavirus?
A. If you have symptoms related to COVID (e.g. cough or shortness of breath) AND meet ONE of the following criteria:
- Travel to an affected region in the last 10 days
- Close contact with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the last 10 days
Please stay home and contact a healthcare professional for additional medical advice! Contact your healthcare provider via telephone and mention your travel history and your symptoms.
Please do not go to your healthcare provider’s waiting room or to the local Hospital Emergency Department unless directed by your healthcare provider or the Nurse Advice Line.
Q. What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
A. Do not go to work or send your child to school/daycare.
Please contact your health care provider before visiting a medical treatment facility. TRICARE beneficiaries should call the Nurse Advice Line at one of the following toll-free numbers based on your location:
Q. What if one person in a family is identified as having had “close contact” with a COVID-19 positive person, what does that mean for the rest of their family?
- Bahrain: 800-06432
- Belgium: 0800-81933
- Germany: 0800-071-3516
- Greece: 00-800-4414-1013
- Italy: 800-979721
- Spain: 900-82-2740
- Turkey: 00-800-44-882-5287
- UK: 0800-028-3263
- To access the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) from a cell phone in Europe you must first call your clinic appointment line and choose the option for the Nurse Advice Line.
- Non-TRICARE beneficiaries should contact their primary care provider or Insurance Provider for advice.
- As always, if you are experiencing respiratory distress, or believe you have a life threatening condition, please call emergency services or report to the closest emergency room.
A. Close contacts of someone who is COVID-19 positive, are placed in quarantine for 10 days from date of exposure unless the close contact is fully vaccinated. The close contact should separate from the rest of the family, but as long as that individual doesn't develop symptoms - then family members are not categorized or restricted. Family members should maintain separate living space to the greatest extent possible. While this does not preclude all personal contact, limit proximity to at least six feet as much as possible. If the close contact begins to develop symptoms, he/she should also be placed in quarantine.
Q. What is the difference between Restriction of Movement (ROM), quarantine, and isolation?
A. Restriction of Movement is an umbrella term used for an individual or group to prevent or diminish the transmission of a communicable disease.
Q. What does quarantine mean?
- The following are categories of ROM:
- Isolation - You have COVID or are reasonably suspected because you are displaying symptoms. This ROM is the physical separation of an individual or group for a minimum of 10 days in an isolation facility or residence following the onset of symptoms. Release from isolation is cleared medically through testing.
- Quarantine - Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms.
A. Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. This is also referred to as Restriction of Movement (ROM.)
Q. Who does the quarantine apply to?
A. Quarantine rules are different, based on individual circumstances and location. It is recommended you coordinate closely with your sponsor as the rules change often. Please read the Department of Defense, Memorandum for Force Health Protection Guidance
for more information.
Q. What should an individual do if they are directed to quarantine?
A. Individuals who have been directed to quarantine must:
Q. While an individual is in quarantine, will they be able to leave the isolation location?
- Stay within place of quarantine and monitor your health for signs of respiratory illness (cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, or fever exceeding 100 F).
- Do not travel, visit public/crowded areas, or use public transportation.
- If living with family members or roommates, maintain separate living space to the greatest extent possible. While this does not preclude all personal contact, limit proximity to at least 6 feet as much as possible.
- Increase hand washing frequency, particularly before and after personal interactions.
- Open windows to increase air flow.
- Use separate sleeping arrangements and hygiene areas when possible.
- Do not prepare food for quarantine individuals.
- Sanitize shared spaces after utilization.
A. No. All personnel are restricted from leaving their quarantine location during the quarantine period.
Q. Who is responsible for supporting COVID-19 positive or quarantined individuals?
A. The unit is required to support COVID-19 positive individuals and those on quarantine. Support is a whole-of-command effort beginning with the individual’s chain of command and the appointed sponsor.
Q. How long does quarantine last?
A. Currently, you must complete a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in Germany. The quarantine period may be shortened by taking a second PCR test no less than 5 days after arrival. If the result of this test is negative, the period of quarantine can end. Stay up-to-date on all European entry requirements by visiting Re-Open EU
Q. What’s the difference between physical distancing vs social distancing?
A. Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping a safe space between yourself and other people who are not from your household. To practice social or physical distancing, stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people who are not from your household in both indoor and outdoor spaces. Both terms are acceptable and may be used along with along with the context provided above as best serves the understanding of your specific audiences.
Q. What is considered “close contact,” and what should I do if I’ve come into close contact with a COVID-19 positive individual?
A contact event is generally described as: 1) being within six feet of a COVID-19 positive individual for a cumulative period of 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period. 2) being in an enclosed area or workspace (i.e., an office) with a COVID-19 positive individual for 10 minutes or more, or 3) contact with respiratory or bodily fluid (i.e., coughed or sneezed on, cared for at home, etc.) from a COVID-19 positive individual. If you have been in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive contact your health care provider as explained above. As a close contact of someone who is COVID-19 positive, you are required to isolate in your residence for 10 days from last contact with the infected individual unless you are fully vaccinated (14 days after receiving the last dose of the vaccine provided). See Guidelines for Isolation and Restriction of Movement below.
Q: Are COVID-19 Screening Clinics still open, and what is the current testing criteria?
A: Yes, all Army COVID-19 Screening Clinics continue to operate. Testing is available for those who have had contact with a confirmed COVID positive case, an/or are experiencing flu-like symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches/pains, headache, loss of taste/smell, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting/diarrhea.
Q. What do I do if my Installation Medical Treatment Facility is closed?
- If you are not contacted by the clinic due to a positive test and you are not symptomatic, there is no medical clearance required to exit quarantine after 10 days.
- Support for quarantining families is available, whether from the unit sponsor, the volunteer shopper program, or a combination.
A. TRICARE beneficiaries should call the Nurse Advice Line at one of the following toll-free numbers based on your location:
- Bahrain: 800-06432
- Belgium: 0800-81933
- Germany: 0800-071-3516
- Greece: 00-800-4414-1013
- Italy: 800-979721
- Spain: 900-82-2740
- Turkey: 00-800-44-882-5287
- UK: 0800-028-3263
To access the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) from a cell phone in Europe you must first call your clinic appointment line and choose the option for the Nurse Advice Line.
Non-TRICARE beneficiaries should contact their primary care provider or Insurance Provider for advice. As always, if you are experiencing respiratory distress, or believe you have a life threatening condition, please call emergency services or report to the closest emergency room.
Q. What is HPCON and when does it change?
A. HPCON stands for Health Protection Condition Levels. Installation commanders use the HPCON framework to select an appropriate response to a public health emergency or incident of public health concern. The framework clarifies uncertainty associated with these situations and provides options based on the scope and severity of the situation. The following is a brief description of each HPCON level.
- Normal Operations. No known health risks, other than diseases endemic to the area surrounding the installation.
- HPCON Alpha (A) – Limited Disease Threat. There is a limited threat to personnel based on the existence of a disease or unusual human health threat that has the potential to rapidly move into the local area (i.e., an area defined by each installation as consisting of a predetermined distance or a list/map depicting by-name counties surrounding the installation).
- HPCON Bravo (B) – Moderate Disease Threat. There is a moderate disease threat and/or a real risk of exposure to personnel due to a significant outbreak of disease in the local area or imminent spread of disease to the local area. HPCON B would be employed by the commander if notified by the PHEO that there has been an initial case identification of a contagious disease, such as a novel influenza, or a dramatic increase in the risk of acquiring a new significant disease from the environment within the local area.
- HPCON Charlie (C) – Substantial Disease Threat. There is a substantial threat of disease for personnel due to a local epidemic outbreak of a disease with a high morbidity rate, imminent spread of such a disease to the local area, and/or a wide area of contamination that requires special or costly avoidance procedures.
- HPCON Delta (D) – Severe Disease Threat. A local epidemic with a high mortality rate or imminent spread