Prior to Receiving the Vaccine
Q: Do members need to be tested for COVID-19 prior to getting the vaccine?
A. No. It is not recommended to test a member solely for the purpose of vaccine decision making.
Q. Who will administer the vaccine?
A. Coast Guard medical staff will receive training on storage, handling, and administration of each vaccine.
Q. If I already had COVID-19, should I still get a vaccine?
A. Yes. Because the duration of immunity following COVID-19 disease can vary based upon the extent of exposure to the virus, eligible Coast Guard members are strongly encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This vaccine is a safe and effective means for battling the disease, while at the same time keeping our families, friends, and communities safe and healthy.
Q: Is the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine now available?
A: On April 23, 2021, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee recommended the resumption of administration of the J&J vaccine after a pause to analyze and investigate reports of rare but severe blood clots associated with low platelets in patients. The Coast Guard is now receiving limited doses of the J&J vaccine to administer to members, in addition to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently being administered.
Q: Is the Coast Guard planning on administering the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine?
A: Yes. The Coast Guard is receiving limited doses of the J&J vaccine to administer to members, in addition to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines currently being administered. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide additional information on the J&J vaccine here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/janssen.html.
Q: Are there any advisories related to the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine?
A: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a warning to the J&J vaccine regarding rare clotting events that have been reported among vaccine recipients. The FDA advisory on the J&J vaccine can be read here: https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide information on the J&J vaccine here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/janssen.html.
Q: Should women under the age of 50 receive the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine?
A: Women under the age of 50 can receive any Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccination. However, they should be aware of the rare risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) after receiving the J&J vaccine, and the availability of other FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines.
Q: Do I need to stop taking aspirin or anticoagulants prior to receiving the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine?
A: No, you do not need to stop taking these medications. However, it is not recommended to take aspirin or anticoagulants prior to receiving the J&J vaccine, or any other Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
Q. Who can I contact with specific questions about the vaccine?
A: In addition to speaking with Coast Guard health care professionals, you may also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) CDC-INFO site (https://www.cdc.gov/cdc-info/ask-cdc.html). The CDC-INFO site allows you to ask questions via web (https://wwwn.cdc.gov/dcs/ContactUs/Form) or phone (800-CDC-INFO [800-232-4636]).
Getting the Vaccine
Q. Will vaccines be available at Coast Guard medical clinics? When will they be available?
A. Yes. COVID-19 vaccinations are readily available at Coast Guard clinics for Active Duty and Selected Reserve personnel. Military members should contact their servicing Coast Guard clinic for information on vaccine availability or for recording of vaccine obtained on the Tricare network. The clinic front desk numbers are available on the HSWL app in the Medical Tab under the heading “USCG Clinic Front Desk Phone Numbers” and on the official CG website (www.uscg.mil/Coronavirus) under the “Vaccine Guidance” heading. Active Duty and Selected Reserve personnel, wherever located, have several other options for obtaining COVID-19 vaccinations.
- Personnel under TRICARE may receive their vaccination from their Primary Care Provider or from a pharmacy that takes TRICARE.
- Personnel under TRICARE may receive their vaccination from a Department of Defense military treatment facility.
- The COVID Vaccine is federally funded and may also be available through state and local health departments. A list of Coast Guard clinics supporting all units in the Coast Guard is available at: https://www.reserve.uscg.mil/Portals/2/Documents/PDF/HSWL_HRC_list_SELRES%232.pdf?ver=2018-08-17-135417-933 .
Q. Where will the Coast Guard doses be distributed?
A. Coast Guard clinics are providing COVID-19 vaccinations for Active Duty and Ready Reserve personnel. Military members should contact their servicing clinic for information on vaccine availability or to record vaccine obtained on the Tricare network. The clinic front desk numbers are available on the HSWL app in the Medical Tab under the heading “USCG Clinic Front Desk Phone Numbers” and on the official CG website (www.uscg.mil/Coronavirus) under the “Vaccine Guidance” heading. Additionally, a list of the available clinics offering the COVID-19 vaccination and their phone numbers can be found here.
Q. What should I expect when I receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. It is important to understand how your body responds to vaccines. According to the CDC’s article “Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work”, we must first look at how our bodies fight illness. COVID-19 vaccines help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19 without us having to get the illness. Different types of vaccines work in different ways to offer protection, but with all types of vaccines, the body is left with a supply of “memory” T-lymphocytes as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that virus in the future. According to the CDC, getting vaccinated is one of many steps you can take to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Protection from COVID-19 is critically important because for some people, it can cause severe illness or death. Within the U.S., over 568,000 people have died after developing COVID-19, the majority prior to COVID-19 becoming a vaccine preventable illness.
Q. What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Getting vaccinated will help prevent you from becoming infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. While many people who become ill with the COVID-19 disease have only a mild illness, others may have serious, life-threatening complications, develop a severe illness, or die. There is no way to know how the COVID-19 disease will affect you, your family, colleagues, neighbors, or shipmates. Even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications, 60% of all infections are transmitted to others unwittingly by persons without symptoms. We still do not fully understand the long-term health consequences of the COVID-19 disease.
As with other vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccination protects you by creating an antibody response without having to experience the infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide additional information and resources regarding COVID-19 vaccine safety, and how vaccine help our bodies develop immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19, at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html.
Q. Are military members permitted to obtain the vaccine off-base if the opportunity presents itself?
A: Yes, military members are permitted to receive the COVID-19 vaccine off-base if the opportunity presents itself. We encourage members to obtain the vaccine at their servicing clinic, but they are not required to do so. However, if a member is vaccinated off-base, they will be responsible for informing their servicing medical clinic in order for that to be recorded in the member's medical record.
Q. If military members receive the vaccine off-base, will TRICARE cover the expense of the vaccine and will the VA cover if there are any complications down the road?
A. Yes. All military personnel may voluntarily get vaccinated outside of a Coast Guard clinic, but must meet the timeline prescribed by their Commanders, Commanding Officers, and Officers in Charge.
Personnel shall request and retain the hard copy immunization record from the vaccination clinic site. Those members who get vaccinated outside of a Coast Guard clinic shall provide the following information to their cognizant Coast Guard clinic: (1) date the vaccine was administered, (2) the vaccine
name or code, (3) the manufacturer and lot number, (4) the dose administered, and (5) the vaccination site (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) Providing false vaccination information is a violation of Article 107, UCMJ, and may also result in administrative and/or disciplinary action.