May 5, 2021 —
Q: Is the CG vaccinating dependents?
A. Yes, the CG has now included dependents in the vaccination plan. CG dependent family members are key to the readiness of the Active and Reserve force. CG clinics will vaccinate dependents in communities where there is demand and the vaccine is not readily available from civilian providers , DoD Medical Treatment Facilities, or other sources. Dependents who request the vaccine from a CG clinic are required to provide proof of dependent status.
Q: How do I find out if my local CG clinic will vaccinate my dependents?
A. Please contact your local CG clinic to determine if they are administering COVID-19 vaccinations to dependents. To find the contact information for local CG clinics, download the Heath, Safety, Work-Life Service Center (HSWL SC) app. For iPhone users: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/uscg-hswl/id669218420?mt=8. For Android users: https://cglink.uscg.mil/9db8da1e.
Q. Should children get the vaccine?
A. The current vaccine(s) trials have not studied the safety and efficacy for children less than 16 years old and manufactures are not currently asking the FDA for authorization to vaccinate children of this age group.
Q. Is the vaccine safe for pregnant or lactating women and do we know what the long term effects are for pregnancy, breast feeding, and overall fertility issues?
A. The clinical trials for the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccines did not enroll or study pregnant or lactating women. More data on these groups will be forthcoming. We do know that these vaccines are not live virus vaccines, and the fragment of genetic information the vaccine uses does not interact with human DNA. The two leading medical societies for obstetricians – the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine – put out strong statements saying the COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to pregnant and lactating women. These medical experts highlight the COVID-19 disease risk to the mother and fetus if there is a severe case of infection. Additionally, a recent study highlighted the significant increased risk of hospitalization, death, and poor fetal outcomes for pregnant women diagnosed with COVID-19.
The decision for a pregnant or lactating woman to get vaccinated should be made with medical consultation, and should weigh any unknowns of the vaccine with the risk of living through a pandemic and potentially getting a severe COVID-19 infection. You can find additional information at the following links:
Q. Will TRICARE beneficiaries, including military retirees, have access to the vaccine?
A. Yes. TRICARE beneficiaries empaneled at a DoD Military Treatment Facility (MTF) are eligible to receive the vaccine at a DoD MTF. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian medical providers. Coast Guard clinics will not be directly vaccinating dependents, so Coast Guard dependents have the options of getting vaccinated through their TRICARE physician, civilian pharmacy, or DoD MTF.
Q. Are pregnant women who contract COVID-19 at an increased risk for severe illness and death?
A. For over a year, CDC identified pregnant women as a population at increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19, due to their naturally heightened inflammatory responses, when compared to non-pregnant peers. Further studies demonstrated pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 are at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth, compared with pregnant women without COVID-19. In the U.S, over 86,877 pregnant women have contracted COVID-19 and 14,745 (17%) required hospitalization.
Q. Are the vaccines safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding?
A. There is no evidence that Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, or J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines pose risk during pregnancy, or infertility for animals that received a vaccine prior to becoming pregnant, or during pregnancy, on future ability to conceive. There is no history of any vaccine causing infertility. Protection against infection through maternal antibodies passed to infants during pregnancy or through breast-feeding can be conferred from mom to baby.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) endorses the Pfizer-BioNTech (Pfizer) and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for use in pregnant and lactating women. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) protocols for new drug research prevented enrollment of pregnant women during the original Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials. However, hundreds of women enrolled in those studies during 2020 became pregnant, and birth outcomes were tracked without incident. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Society for Maternal and Fetal Medicine advocated for vaccine availability and autonomy for pregnant and lactating women to choose whether to become vaccinated based on personal and community risk factors. To date, over 94,000 women report being pregnant and vaccinated to the CDC.
The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, meaning it uses a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells. Vaccines that use the same viral vector have been given to pregnant people in all trimesters of pregnancy, including in a large-scale Ebola vaccination trial. No adverse pregnancy-related outcomes, including adverse outcomes affecting the infant, were associated with vaccination in these trials. Learn more about how viral vector vaccines work. Regarding the J&J/Janssen vaccine, the known and potential benefits outweigh the known and potential risks. However, women under age 50 should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots associated with low platelet count, and that other COVID-19 vaccine options are available where this risk has not been seen.
On 21 April, 2021, the New England Journal of Medicine published “Preliminary Findings of mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine Safety in Pregnant Persons”, which can be read at the following link: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2104983.
Q. Should children get the vaccine?
A. As of May 4, 2021, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone 16 years of age and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. People 16 years and older can receive the Pfizer vaccine. People 18 years and older can receive the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine.
Additionally, the US Food and Drug Administration is preparing to authorize the Pfizer vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15 by early next week. In a clinical trial of 12- to 15-year-olds, the vaccine had been found to be safe, effective and produced robust antibody responses.
The clinical trials for the Moderna vaccine for children 12 and older are currently underway.