Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Back-to-school vaccinations in the age of coronavirus

Medical technician wearing a mask, filling an immunization needle Air Force Reserve Senior Airman Stephen Barley, an aerospace medical technician, prepares to help immunize U.S. Army Reserve engineers at the Pittsburgh International Airport Air Reserve Station, Pennsylvania. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Dalton Smith)

Recommended Content:

Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Public Health | Medical and Dental Preventive Care Fitness | Children's Health | Immunizations

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt everyday routines, including attending school in-person, parents may have questions about their children's back-to-school vaccination requirements. The following Q/A is adapted from a TRICARE Facebook chat with experts in the Defense Health Agency's Immunization Healthcare Division:

Will my children need their immunizations even if school buildings don't reopen?

Children need to be protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Well-child visits and vaccinations are essential services to help ensure children are protected. Children who are not protected by vaccines may be more likely to get diseases such as measles and whooping cough.

Should they still get immunizations if they've been infected with COVID-19?

Routine vaccination should be deferred for those with suspected or confirmed COVID-19, regardless of symptoms, until they've met criteria to discontinue isolation. This will help protect health care personnel and other patients to the virus that causes COVID-19.

Will COVID-19 precautions also protect against vaccine-preventable diseases?

Social distancing does not guarantee protection against vaccine-preventable diseases. The risk may be lower, but the viruses are still circulating and can infect children.

Is it safe to take my child to a medical office for a well-child visit?

Call the provider's office and ask about ways they safely offer well-child visits during this time. Many medical offices are taking extra steps to make sure that visits can happen safely during the COVID-19 outbreak, including scheduling sick visits and well-child visits during different times of the day; asking patients to remain outside until it’s time for their appointment to reduce the number of people in waiting rooms; and offering sick visits and well-child visits in different locations.

What should I do if I can’t go to a military medical treatment facility?

If you’re enrolled in TRICARE PrimeA managed care option available in Prime Service Areas in the United States; you have an assigned primary care manager who provides most of your care.TRICARE Prime and your provider can’t provide the care you need, you will be referred to a TRICARE network provider. For all other plans, you can get covered vaccines from any TRICARE-authorized provider. TRICARE covers covered vaccines at no cost.  But when you get the vaccine from your provider, you may have to pay co-payments or cost-shares for the office visit or for other services received during the office visit.  You can get some covered vaccines at no cost at participating network pharmacies. To find a pharmacy that participates in the vaccine program, search online at the TRICARE website.

Is being up to date on immunizations more important for children of a certain age?

Children younger than age 2 have more frequent appointments and typically receive more vaccines, so they may have fallen further behind during the pandemic than children in other age groups. However, it's important to realize that vaccines require a certain amount of time between doses, called minimum intervals, so it may take multiple visits to get back on track. Work with the child’s health care provider to develop a plan that accounts for both missed doses and appropriate intervals between doses, so that your child is caught up as soon as possible.

If my children are healthy, why do they need vaccines?

If children aren’t vaccinated, they can spread disease to other children who are too young to be vaccinated or to people with weakened immune systems, such as transplant recipients and cancer patients. This could result in long-term complications and even death for these vulnerable people.

What is the harm of separating, spacing out or withholding vaccines?

Delaying vaccines can be risky. It increases the timeframe that children are susceptible to certain diseases, some of which are still fairly common.

Why are so many doses needed for each vaccine?

Getting every recommended dose of each vaccine provides the best protection possible. Depending on the vaccine, your child will need more than one dose to build high enough immunity to prevent disease or to boost immunity that fades over time. Your child may also receive more than one dose to make sure they are protected if they did not get immunity from a first dose, or to protect them against germs that change over time, like flu. Every dose is important because each protects against infectious diseases that can be especially serious for infants and very young children.

You also may be interested in...

DHA-PI 6025.34: Guidance for the DoD Influenza Vaccination Program (IVP)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), implements instructions, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the DoD Northern Hemisphere (NH) and Southern Hemisphere (SH) Seasonal influenza vaccination program.

DHA IPM 20-002: Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to implement instructions, assign responsibilities, and prescribe procedures for the Southern Hemisphere Influenza Vaccination Program. All Active Duty, Selected Reserve, and National Guard members receive an annual influenza vaccination. Personnel who are traveling to, conducting a permanent change of station to, or are located in the Southern Hemisphere will receive the Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine or obtain an exemption (e.g., medical or administrative) in accordance with guidance in paragraph 6.a. of Attachment 2. Military personnel residing in the Southern Hemisphere who have received the Southern Hemisphere influenza vaccine in accordance with Appendix 1, meet the annual influenza immunization requirement.

DHA IPM 19-006: 2019–2020 Seasonal Influenza Vaccination Program (IVP)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (o), implementing instructions, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for the seasonal influenza vaccination program. • This DHA-IPM cancels and reissues DHA-IPM 18-005. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately and will expire 12 months from the date of issue.

DODI 6205.02 DOD Immunization Program

Policy

Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and provides procedures to establish a uniform DoD immunization program, in accordance with the authority in DoDD 6200.04 and DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1010.10.

DHA PI 6025.16: Processes and Procedures for Implementation of Standardized Perinatal Training

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (p), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to describe standard processes and criteria for developing and sustaining comprehensive systems to provide, assess, and monitor standardized perinatal training for military medical personnel providing services to mothers and infants.

  • Identification #: 6025.16
  • Date: 4/30/2019
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Children's Health

MILPERSMAN 1730-020 Immunization Exemptions for Religious Beliefs

Policy

Process for requesting immunization exemptions, pursuant to the Navy Military Personnel Manual.

Embedded Fragment Analyses

Policy

Clarification of the Requirement for Continuation of Semi-Annual Reporting of Results of Embedded Fragment Analyses

Influenza Surveillance Program

Policy

Sentinel Sites for the 2014-2015 Influenza Surveillance Program

DoD Instruction 6025.19: Individual Medical Readiness

Policy

This instruction implements policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures to improve IMR in accordance with the authority in Reference (b). This implementation is in accordance with sections 1074a, 10149, and 10206 of Title 10, United States Code and DoDD 6200.04 (References (c) and (d), respectively)

DoD Instruction 1010.10: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention

Policy

This instruction reissues DoD Directive (DoDD) 1010.10 (Reference (a)) as a DoD instruction (DoDI) in accordance with the authority in DoDD 5124.02 (Reference (b)) to establish policy and assign responsibilities for health promotion and disease prevention in accordance with References (c) through (f).

Deployment Limiting Mental Disorders and Psychotrophic Medications

Policy

Policy memorandum about Deployment Limiting Mental Disorders and Psychotrophic Medications

Immunizations and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases

Policy
  • Identification #: Army Regulation 40–562 BUMEDINST 6230.15B AFI 48–110_IP CG COMDTINST M6230.4G
  • Date: 10/7/2013
  • Type: Instructions
  • Topics: Immunization Healthcare

Japanese Encephalitis (JE) virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus and the most common vaccine-preventable cause of encephalitis in Asia

Policy

Individuals deploying to areas in Pacific Command (PACOM) should be administered the JE vaccine in accordance with the latest PACOM Force Health Protection Guidance.

Guidance on Medications for Prophylaxis of Malaria 13-002

Policy

This document provides guidance and best practices for the chemoprophylaxis (use of medication to prevent malaria) of Service members serving in malaria endemic regions.

Guideline for Tuberculosis Screening and Testing

Policy

Because accessions come from widely diverse geographic backgrounds, the Services should determine the need for tuberculin skin tests for accessions while Service members are at the training base, based on the needs of the specific accessions environment and operational mission requirements. DoD will implement targeted testing rather than universal testing where possible, based on Service-specific mission requirements, for recruits and new accessions, HCWs, recent deployers, and Service members who are retiring.

  • Identification #: 00-memo-2012-04-20
  • Date: 4/20/2012
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Immunizations
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.