Select vaccine related FAQs from the dropdown.
Q: If a member has verbally acknowledged obligation to get vaccinated and stated intent to vaccinate, must the person be counseled and issued a CG-3307?
A: No, but the member must be counseled if they do not immediately follow through, operations permitting, in scheduling and receiving COVID-19 vaccination as directed in ALCOAST 315/21.
Q. If I’m unvaccinated and currently enrolled in “A” or “C” school, will I be allowed to complete the school?
A. At this time, unvaccinated members will not be disenrolled from “A” or “C” schools. However, unvaccinated members will be subject to administrative risk mitigation and effective leadership measures, in accordance with ALCOAST 352/21.
Q. If I’m unvaccinated and currently attending an advanced education program/Duty Under Instruction (DUINS), will I be allowed to complete the program?
A. At this time, unvaccinated members will not be disenrolled from advanced education programs. However, unvaccinated members will be subject to administrative risk mitigation and leadership measures, in accordance with ALCOAST 352/21.
Q. I have an approved retirement/separation. Am I still required to be vaccinated?
A. Yes. The administrative exemption from deployment (mobility) immunization for service members within 180 days of separation or retirement does not apply to immunization from COVID-19.
Q. If I’m unvaccinated, and serving in a command position, will I be relieved?
A. The willingness of Commanding Officers, Officers in Charge, and senior leaders to support this direction through their own action is a relevant factor for consideration for continued fitness for command and other positions of leadership. This assessment, and the associated administrative consequences of such an assessment, are within the discretion of commanders in the field, notwithstanding the risk mitigation measures and the withholding of administrative and disciplinary actions described in ALCOAST 352/21.
Q. Can I meet the COVID-19 vaccine requirement through previous infection with COVID-19, or the results of an antibody test?
A. No. Because research is ongoing as to whether previous infection with COVID-19 confers lasting protection, previous COVID-19 infection is not considered proof of immunity. A history of COVID-19 disease and/or a positive antibody test or other positive test for COVID-19 does not exempt a Service Member from being required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The only acceptable proof of immunity is completion of a COVID-19 vaccination series.
Q: If a member has verbally acknowledged obligation to vaccinate and stated intent to vaccinate, must the person be counseled and issued a CG-3307?
A: No, but the member must be counseled if they do not immediately follow through, operations permitting, in scheduling and receiving COVID-19 vaccination as directed in ALCOAST 315/21.
Q. Who can sign the first CG-3307 (P&D-41A)?
A. Commanders, Commanding Officers and Officers in Charge are the only ones authorized to sign the CG-3307 (P&D-41A). This includes Commanding Officers of Military or Enlisted Personnel.
This does not include office chiefs, command staff, or civilian supervisors. While the Commander, Commanding Officer, or Officer in Charge must sign the CG-3307 (P&D-41A), counseling may be conducting by a supervisor or member of the command staff.
Q. If I have not yet received the COVID-19 vaccine, how soon must I be fully vaccinated?
A. As soon as operations allow, starting immediately. Commanders, Commanding Officers, and Officers in Charge shall direct unvaccinated Active Duty and Ready Reserve Coast Guard members to initiate the COVID-19 vaccination regimen immediately, and in doing so shall ensure members are scheduled and made available to receive the vaccine.
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all service members?
A: Yes. All Coast Guard active duty and Ready Reserve members who are not fully vaccinated, and do not fall within an approved exception, must now be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Q. If I am unvaccinated, can I get any vaccine I want?
A. Coast Guard Active Duty and Ready Reserve members may choose to receive any COVID-19 vaccine that is fully approved by the FDA, administered under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), or is included on the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing.
Coast Guard Active Duty and Ready Reserve members shall be provided any vaccine that has received Food and Drug Administration (FDA) licensure. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was licensed by the FDA on 23 August 2021, meets this requirement.
For now, if you receive any of these three vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen – in accordance with their dosing and timing requirements, you will be considered fully vaccinated.
Q. Given this mandate, am I still required to be vaccinated if I already had COVID-19?
A. Yes. Previous COVID-19 infection does not satisfy the vaccine mandate. Military members with previous COVID-19 infection are not considered fully vaccinated based solely on having been infected, and must be vaccinated. Consistent with the Secretary of Defense’s direction, all Coast Guard active duty and Ready Reserve members who are not fully vaccinated, and do not fall within an approved exception, must now be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Q: Do I need to do anything if I’m already fully vaccinated?
A: If you were vaccinated at a Coast Guard clinic, no further action is required.
If you were vaccinated by a non-Coast Guard provider before the order for mandatory vaccinations was issued and have not yet reported your status to a Coast Guard medical provider, you must do so as soon as possible. Those members who get vaccinated outside of a Coast Guard clinic shall provide the following information to their respective 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 provider (i.e. Walgreens, CVS, etc). Providing false vaccination information is a violation of Article 107, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), and may also result in administrative and/or disciplinary action.
Q. Does the prohibition on unvaccinated members’ future attendance at “C” schools apply to aviation proficiency and transition courses?
A: Yes, unvaccinated members are suspended from future attendance at aviation proficiency and transition courses.
Q. Is an unvaccinated member who is completing “A” school suspended from attending a “C” school that follows immediately after the completion of “A” school?
A: Yes, an unvaccinated member who has completed “A” school is not eligible to start a follow-on “C” school, even if it follows immediately after the “A” school.
Q. Will members who refuse vaccination while at “A” schools, “C” schools, accession training, or other advanced education programs be allowed to depart those units upon completion of the training?
A: Yes, all students who have completed training will be directed to travel to their new unit or return to their permanent unit, as per the standard procedure for those programs.
Q. Will unvaccinated members, who otherwise remain eligible to sit for the service wide exam, be able to take the service wide exam if they can do so in a manner that mitigates the risk of not spreading COVID-19?
A: Yes, any unvaccinated member who is otherwise eligible to take the service wide exam may do so provided they follow CDC guidelines for unvaccinated individuals (e.g., maintain proper distancing, remain masked, etc.).
Q. How does withholding language in paragraph 7 of ALCOAST 305/21 affect a commander’s ability to endorse a re-enlistment or advancement request?
A: Commanders may account for a member’s refusal to follow an order to be vaccinated in the execution of routine administrative functions, including, but not limited to, endorsement of re-enlistment and advancement requests, short-tour requests, or requests to attend graduate programs. Commands may not address pending religious accommodation or medical exemption
requests in executing these routine administrative functions, nor shall commands rely on the fact that a member has a pending request to support denial or non-endorsement of such a request.
Q. How does withholding language in paragraph 7 of ALCOAST 305/21 affect a rating chain’s ability to hold unvaccinated members (i.e., members that have not initiated the vaccine regiment) accountable in evaluations.
A: A command may take into account a member’s refusal to follow an order to be vaccinated when completing regularly scheduled evaluations. Commands are reminded that, per Coast Guard Enlisted Evaluation System Procedure Manual, PSCINST M1611.2A, “For a mark of 2, 4, or 6, the member must meet all of the written standard in this mark…” and “A mark of 4 represents the expected performance level of all enlisted members.” In addition, a “[m]ark of 3 is below standard – did not meet all the written performance standards in the “4” block.” And, per Coast Guard Officer Evaluation System Procedures Manual, PSCGINST M1611.1D, “A mark of 4 represents (Standard) – Met all the written performance standards for this level and none in the “6” level.
Commands may not address pending religious accommodation or medical exemption requests in evaluations, nor shall commands rely on the fact that a member has a pending request to the detriment of the member when supporting any mark in an evaluation.
Q. Why is the Coast Guard mandating military vaccinations now?
A. After months of infections and hospitalizations going down, there has been a steep rise in COVID-19 cases due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. Delta puts us in a much more challenging situation because it is significantly more transmissible, with evidence that it causes more serious disease. Due to the variant’s highly transmissible nature, it is spreading widely among the unvaccinated populations, putting them at great risk. This negatively impacts the readiness of military units and increases demands on military hospitals and clinics.
Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be safe and very effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. As we do with other deadly infections, we want to protect Coast Guard personnel, our families, and our communities through the best tool available, vaccination. Further, a fully vaccinated workforce helps ensure mission readiness. Required vaccination to protect personnel is routine for the Coast Guard, including annual influenza vaccination. In concert with Department of Defense (DoD) guidance, the Coast Guard currently requires vaccines for individuals entering military service and other vaccines depending on the Service member’s role and geographic region.
Q. What makes Service members different from federal employees when it comes to enforcing certain requirements?
A. Vaccine requirements are tied to personal medical readiness, and are designed to afford Service members with the best protections available so they can perform missions across the globe.
Required vaccinations are nothing new to the U.S. military. In concert with Department of Defense (DoD) guidance, the Coast Guard currently requires vaccines for individuals entering military service and other vaccines depending on the Service member’s role and geographic region.
Q. What happens if a Service member refuses to get the vaccine? (UPDATE)
A. The requirement to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 constitutes a lawful general order. Refusal by Coast Guard Active Duty and Ready Reserve members to fully vaccinate against COVID-19 in the timelines prescribed, absent an approved medical exemption or approved religious accommodation, will constitute a failure to obey a lawful general order. This order is punishable under Article 92 of the UCMJ, and may result in punitive and/or administrative action, including initiation of discharge proceedings.
The Coast Guard will determine additional measures necessary to mitigate health risks to members of the Service and our communities posed by those who are not yet vaccinated. These measures may include additional restrictions on official travel, liberty, and leave, as well as cancellation of “A” and “C” school orders. Additional guidance on the implementation of mandatory vaccinations is forthcoming.
Q. Does the Coast Guard have a plan to distribute and administer the vaccine to all Service members?
A. Yes. Continuing the Service’s ongoing efforts to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, the Coast Guard will ensure that military members are administered the vaccine in a timely fashion. Vaccines are readily available at Coast Guard clinics, military treatment facilities, and civilian healthcare providers.
Q. Are there enough vaccines available now to handle the surge in demand?
A. Yes. Vaccines are readily available at Coast Guard clinics, military treatment facilities, and civilian healthcare providers. Additional COVID-19 vaccines are being delivered to Coast Guard clinics to accelerate vaccination of the entire workforce and are available for any Active Duty or Ready Reserve member.
Q. How is Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) related to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine?
A. The FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech product Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) and the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine under EUA have the same formulation and can be administered interchangeably to provide the COVID-19 vaccination series.
The Vaccine Information Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers provides additional information about both the approved and authorized vaccine.
The Coast Guard’s service member vaccine mandate is consistent with the Secretary of Defense’s direction. The Secretary of Defense has authorized the use of compelled COVID-19 vaccinations in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance. Per memorandum from Assistant Secretary for Defense (Health Affairs) issued 14 September 2021, DoD health care providers will use both the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine interchangeably for the purpose of vaccinating Service members in order to comply with the Secretary of Defense direction.
Q. Where can individuals go for more information about the vaccine they will be administered?
A. Please visit the CDC’s webpage, Different COVID-19 Vaccines (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html), to learn more about the various vaccines in Phase 3 Clinical trials. You can also learn more about U.S. COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials, including vaccines in earlier stages of development, by visiting clinicaltrials.gov.
Q. What agency is responsible for the overall plan?
A. The Coast Guard is participating in the Department of Defense (DoD) COVID-19 Vaccine distribution operation. Agencies included in this partnership include, among others, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Coast Guard. On 22 January 2021, the President issued a National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/National-Strategy-for-the-COVID-19-Response-and-Pandemic-Preparedness.pdf.
Q. What are the ingredients in COVID-19 vaccines?
A. Besides the active ingredients which help the body produce a protective immune response against the COVID-19 virus, depending on the vaccine, inactive ingredients include small amounts of polyethylene glycol, polysorbate 80, sodium chloride (salt), potassium chloride (salt substitute), sucrose (sugar), and citric acid (vitamin C). A full listing of ingredients is available at Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC.
None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives. All COVID-19 vaccines are free from metals or any manufactured products such as microelectronics, electrodes, carbon nanotubes, or nanowire semiconductors.
Q. What are the different types of COVID-19 vaccines?
A. As COVID-19 vaccines are authorized and then recommended for use in the United States, it’s important to learn about the vaccines that are available. The CDC provides information on who is eligible and recommended to receive each vaccine and what to expect after vaccination, as well as ingredients, safety, and effectiveness. To read more from the CDC about the different COVID-19 vaccines, please read this CDC article. Currently, three vaccines are authorized (under an Emergency Use Authorization) and recommended to prevent COVID-19:
Additionally, Pfizer-BioNTech (COMIRNATY) received U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval on August 23, 2021, for individuals 16 years of age and older. The FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech product Comirnaty (COVID-19 Vaccine, mRNA) and the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine under EUA have the same formulation and can be administered interchangeably to provide the COVID-19 vaccination series.
Q. How was the COVID-19 Vaccine developed so rapidly, in record time?
A. Due to the urgency and critical need to produce the vaccine and provide it to the public safely and quickly, our country expended every resource and made development and testing of COVID-19 vaccines a top priority. Authorization to use the vaccine came quickly because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) accelerated the vaccines to the front line at every step. No compromises on safety or effectiveness were made during their development.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developing a vaccine and bringing it to market often takes many years. But because of work that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was already doing when the COVID-19 pandemic began, researchers were able to come up with vaccines for this new virus much more quickly. You can read more about the COVID-19 vaccine development effort here: COVID-19 Vaccine Development: Behind the Scenes.
Q. What is an Emergency Use Authorization?
A. Drugs and vaccines have to be licensed or authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. In situations when there is strong scientific evidence that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its emergency use under specific circumstances.
This type of FDA pre-licensure approval is considered for treatment or prevention of diseases that are very serious and occurring during an outbreak or pandemic scenario. For the COVID-19 vaccines, the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) indicates that the FDA has found the vaccine to be safe, however, studies regarding the full duration of protection against disease will continue.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers choose whether to make a request for EUA or routine licensure based upon the circumstances. The processes used to evaluate the current COVID-19 vaccines for their safety and effectiveness were no less rigorous than if the manufacturers had requested an adjudication for a licensed vaccine. EUAs are permitted only during emergent circumstances.
Q. How is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) different from full approval?
A. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) announcement, the issuance of an EUA is different than an FDA approval (licensure) of a vaccine. The FDA is able to grant a special type of interim approval called an EUA during public health emergencies. Just like full approval/licensure, an EUA looks at the totality of data and does a risk-benefit analysis. The FDA does a rigorous safety analysis and then looks at the how effectively the vaccine is at preventing disease in the context of a pandemic, when the disease is widespread and many people are routinely being infected.
If issued an EUA, vaccine manufacturers are obligated under FDA rules to continue their clinical trial monitoring and gather more data to fully understand how long the vaccine protection will last. Additionally, the FDA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collect reports from those who receive the vaccines to develop the best understanding of common side-effects.
Q: Will a COVID-19 vaccination affect COVID-19 test results?
A. No, COVID-19 vaccination will not affect the results of viral tests (polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen). Vaccination may affect an antibody test; a positive COVID-19 antibody test could indicate vaccination OR previous infection.
Q. Should healthcare personnel who have been vaccinated be tested for COVID-19 if they develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
A. It depends. The COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose series and high efficacy (or protection) is expected 10-14 days after the second dose. Thus, a member could potentially become infected with COVID-19 before, during or after the vaccination series and display symptoms in the post vaccination period. Providers should consider the following when making testing decisions:
Q: Is the sterilizer ethylene oxide that is used on the nasal swabs safe?
A: The sterilizer, ethylene oxide, is commonly used in the medical industry. Ethylene oxide is considered a safe and effective method that ensures the sanitization of medical devices. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ethylene oxide is used to sterilize more than half of medical supplies in the United States. Ethylene oxide has been used for decades and is considered by the FDA to be the only effective sterilizing method that doesn’t damage the object being sterilized. It is also used in a variety of industrial applications and everyday consumer products such as laundry detergent and shampoos.
Q: Is there is a residue of ethylene oxide on the COVID-19 nasal swab tests?
A: The sterilizing process leaves no residual trace of ethylene oxide on the nasal swab. The process for sterilizing COVID-19 swabs is highly regulated and completely safe. Swabs are sterilized through exposure to ethylene oxide gas for a short, controlled amount of time. The sterilization process is assessed and evaluated from beginning to end to ensure the swab meets the FDA’s rigorous safety standards. There is no residual trace of ethylene oxide on the nasal swab when it is packaged.
Q: Are there long-term health effects associated with using ethylene oxide?
A: Ethylene oxide-sterilized nasal swabs are safe and will not cause long-term health problems such as cancer. Performing swab tests sterilized with ethylene oxide will not cause long-term health effects. Because there is no trace of ethylene oxide left on the nasal swabs once it is packaged, you won’t be exposed, nor will your health be at risk.
Q. How is the CDC ensuring the safety of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States?
A. According to the CDC, the U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Safety is a top priority while federal partners work to make this and other COVID-19 vaccines available. For more information about safety measures, clinical trials, and monitoring systems, please read this CDC article.
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. Should I get the vaccine for influenza (flu shot)?
A. Yes, the annual Flu vaccine is mandated. It is important to get the influenza vaccine, particularly this year when both influenza viruses and COVID-19 could infect people. You can receive the COVID-19 and influenza vaccines at the same time. There is no waiting time between COVID and Flu vaccinations. You are encouraged to get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available to you.
Q. Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine after receiving another vaccine?
A. Yes, as provided it has been 14 days since the last vaccination. Those receiving the COVID vaccine must wait 14 days after completing the COVID vaccine series before other immunizations are given. Please consult your primary care physician or health care professional if you have specific questions about your circumstances.
Q: I have a religious accommodation request in that has been with the decision authority for more than 30 days (CONUS units) or 60 days (OCONUS unit), what does this mean?
A: COMDTINST 1000.15 states that “Requests that are approved by other than the unit CO/OIC must be executed within 30 days (CONUS) and 60 days (OCONUS) from the date received by the decision authority, if practicable and as operations permit.” CG-133 is diligently reviewing each religious accommodation package received. However, the execution time for a decision in some cases will be delayed given the high volume of requests received. Each package will be reviewed and a decision rendered, as soon as possible.”
Q. Should commands issue CG-3307 (P&D 41B or 41C, as applicable) to a member that has indicated they intend to seek a medical exemption or religious accommodation?
A. By now, all unvaccinated members should have received the initial CG-3307 (P&D 41A, as applicable) and should have indicated whether they will seek an exemption/accommodation. If the member indicated they will not seek an exemption/accommodation or if the member has not yet taken all steps within his/her control to seek an exemption/accommodation, the command shall issue a CG-3307 (P&D 41B or 41C, as applicable) to that member. If the member has scheduled an appointment but has not yet been seen for an exemption/accommodation and that has been verified by the command, then the command should not issue a CG-3307 (P&D 41B or 41C, as applicable) to the member. If the member has a pending or approved exemption/accommodation, the member should not be issued a 3307 (P&D 41B or 41C, as applicable).
Q. What are the criteria for being granted a permanent medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate?
A. People who have had a severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of COVID-19 vaccine, or people who are allergic to or have had a severe allergic reaction to an ingredient of the COVID-19 vaccine, can be granted a permanent medical exemption. Symptoms of severe allergy include rash, wheezing, and shortness of breath, and typically occur within 15 minutes after vaccination.
Because these are very rare reactions to vaccination, we expect that granting of permanent exemptions will be infrequent.
Q. What are the criteria for being granted a temporary medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine mandate?
A. Because there are only a few specific medical criteria for granting of a temporary exemption, we expect that granting of temporary exemptions will be infrequent.
Persons who are moderately to severely ill (with COVID-19 or any other illness) can receive a temporary exemption until they have recovered sufficiently and are no longer subject to isolation requirements. People who are acutely ill should not present for vaccination, since they might expose others to COVID-19 or other infections. Most people with minor illness without fever who are not subject to isolation should be vaccinated.
People who are enrolled in COVID-19 related clinical studies can receive a temporary exemption until their participation in the trial is completed. The Coast Guard supports its members who voluntarily participate in important research, and does not want to interfere with the results of those studies.
People who have been treated for COVID-19 disease with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma should receive a temporary exemption until 90 days have passed since their treatment. This is to ensure the body can respond to the vaccine, without interference by antibodies included in the monoclonal and plasma treatments. People who are not sure if they received these treatments should consult with their healthcare provider. As stated previously, having had COVID-19 previously is not a criteria for a permanent medical exemption.
Q. Is pregnancy a justification for a medical exemption?
A. Pregnant and recently pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk for severe illness, and preterm birth. Additionally, pregnant people with COVID-19 might be at increased risk for serious pregnancy complications and outcomes, such as life-threatening high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, and stillbirth.
Evidence on the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination – in both animal and human studies – indicates that the benefits of vaccination outweigh any known or potential risks of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy.
Pregnant patients who have concerns about vaccination should have their concerns addressed by consultation with their prenatal care provider. If the care provider determines that it is appropriate to defer vaccination until later in pregnancy or post-pregnancy, a temporary medical exemption from vaccination until that time should be provided.
Because of the benefits of vaccination for pregnant persons, pregnancy is not a criteria to receive a permanent medical exemption for COVID-19 vaccine.
Q. Are temporary or permanent medical exemptions available for breastfeeding mothers?
A. No. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people aged 12 years and older, including people who are breastfeeding. The COVID-19 vaccines currently licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), or approved for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), cannot cause infection in either the lactating person or the infant. Recent reports have shown that the antibodies developed from mRNA COVID-19 vaccination were present in breastmilk samples. More study is needed to determine if these antibodies protect newborns and infants against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Q. What are these medical exemption recommendations based on, and where can I get more Information?
A. These recommendations are based on information contained in Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC and ACIP General Best Practice Guidelines for Immunization | CDC
These two websites have a great deal of information about COVID-19 vaccines, and general information about vaccination.
Q. What if my health care provider needs more information?
A. The Defense Health Agency offers a clinical consultation service. Details and phone contact information are available at Clinical Consultation Services | Health.mil.
Q. Who Can Grant Temporary or Permanent Medical Exemptions?
A. Authority to grant temporary medical exemptions shall remain with the local military-employed or affiliated Medical Officer (MO). TRICARE Prime Remote civilian primary care managers or network providers do not have authority to grant temporary exemptions.
COMDT (CG-1121) is now the final approval authority for any permanent medical exemption to any mandatory vaccine, in accordance with ALCOAST 315/21 and Immunization and Chemoprophylaxis for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases, COMDTINST M6230.4 (series). CG MOs may apply for a permanent medical exemption to one or more vaccines on behalf of a patient by submitting a package to their Senior Medical Executive consisting of medical documentation (including specialist consultation, if applicable) supporting the exemption and an official memo requesting the exemption.
Q. My clinic doesn’t have an available appointment within routine standards for medical exemption waiver submission (seven days). What should I do?
A. All clinics have been instructed to make appointments available and should provide an appointment within routine access to care standards (seven days).
If a circumstance occurs where an appointment within seven days cannot be provided to support the exemption, member should ask for documentation on when the next available appointment is. If you are unable to get an appointment within seven days, please notify your next level supervisor using the documentation provided by your clinic, in addition to notifying the Regional Manager, if appropriate.
Q: Are there authorized exemptions from the mandatory vaccination requirement?
A: Coast Guard policy allows, in some circumstances, medical exemptions and religious accommodations.
Under current Coast Guard policy in COMDTINST M6230.4G (a joint directive with other military services), a medical exemption includes any medical contraindication relevant to a specific vaccine or other medication, according to published recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
COMDTINST 1000.15, Military Religious Accommodation, provides the policy and procedures for requesting a religious accommodation.
Q: What is the process for requesting a medical exemption?
A. Members seeking a medical exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement should notify their primary health care provider, who will review and forward the request to Chief of Preventive Medicine (CG-1121) for final decision.
Members that previously had medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination must re-submit their request for exemption to CG-1121, via their primary health care provider.
Q: Will there be a religious accommodation?
A. The Coast Guard will also consider an accommodation for a sincerely held religious belief. The Office of Military Personnel Policy, COMDT (CG-133) will adjudicate requests for religious accommodation consistent with Military Religious Accommodations, COMDTINST 1000.15. Requests for a religious accommodation are granted or denied on a case-by-case basis and will be informed by input from the member’s command, medical, judge advocate, and military chaplain.
Q: What is the process for requesting a religious accommodation?
A. Members should notify either their chaplain or Commanding Officer (CO) of their request for a religious accommodation. The member must submit a written request to their CO pursuant to Military Religious Accommodations, COMDTINST 1000.15. COs/OICs will consult with their servicing legal office while adjudicating member requests for religious accommodation. The member will then be counseled by their CO and a military physician, and must arrange an interview with a military chaplain. Once the counseling and interview is completed and documented, the command will forward the request through the appropriate chain and the Office of Health Services (CG-112), then to the Office of Military Personnel Policy (CG-133) for final decision.
Q. If Commanders, Commanding Officers, or Officers in Charge do not endorse a member’s request for a religious accommodation, how do they indicate this intent on a member’s request memo?
A: In accordance with the Correspondence Manual (COMDTINST M5216.4 (series)), Commanders, Commanding Officers, and Officers in Charge may annotate a “recommend denial” or “forwarded without endorsement” along with their signature. A signature on the “Thru” line without comment indicates a favorable endorsement of the request. They may alternatively provide a separate-page endorsement that more fully explains their recommended approval or disapproval.
If a command has endorsed a member’s religious accommodation request with a signature endorsement, and the intent was not to favorably endorse the request, the command may update the record. Contact your servicing legal office for guidance.
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]).
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.
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.
Q. Who is eligible to receive a booster dose?
A. All Coast Guard military members and employees are considered first responders meeting the high-risk occupational or institutional exposure criteria and are strongly encouraged to get a booster if their last Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine dose was six or more months ago. If a member received the Johnson and Johnson (J & J) vaccine, they should receive a booster dose of that vaccine two months after receiving the first dose.
Q. Do I have to prove I’m eligible?
A. Proof of occupation is not required to receive a booster. Personnel should refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccine card, or contact their clinic, to verify six months have elapsed since their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months since their Johnson and Johnson (J & J) vaccine.
Q. Are booster doses recommended for all three types of vaccines?
A. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have now authorized booster doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J & J) COVID-19 vaccines. Any eligible CG member or employee is encouraged to get the booster.
Q. If I want to get a booster, when should I get it? How do I know when I might be due for a booster?
A. If you received either of the mRNA vaccines - Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna – you are eligible for a booster six months after the second dose of either vaccine. If you received the Johnson and Johnson (J & J) vaccine, you should receive a booster dose of the J & J vaccine two months after receiving the first dose.
Q. Where can I go to get a booster dose?
A. Booster doses for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are available at CG clinics and civilian pharmacies.
Q: If I think I am eligible for a booster, where can I get one?
A: Pfizer booster shots are available at USCG pharmacies, as well as other locations, including civilian healthcare providers and local pharmacies.
Q: How do I know if it’s been six months since my last dose?
A: Review your CDC shot card if you have one, check with your PCP or the site where you received your vaccine, or visit your state immunization registry.
Q: When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?
A: Additional people may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data becomes available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness.
Q: How long will protection last following vaccination?
A: We do not know how long protection will last following vaccination but it will be critically important to measure long-term protection in the phase 3 trials and in other groups prioritized for early vaccination. We are still learning about the duration of protection following infection with COVID-19 and it is too early to tell how long protection will last.
Q: Can I still get sick with the COVID-19 disease once I have been vaccinated?
A: Yes, even though the vaccine is highly effective (has a high efficacy), it’s still possible for a vaccinated person to become ill. The protection provided by the vaccine is not immediate after receiving the second dose. Current information indicates it takes time for a person’s immune system to fully respond to the vaccine and produce antibodies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), evidence from clinical trials indicates that the Pfizer vaccine reaches full potential, 95% efficacy, at least 7 days after the second dose. At the 95% effective rate, approximately 5% of those who receive both doses of the vaccine may still get the COVID-19 disease. Clinical trial data for the Moderna vaccine indicate that it reaches full potential, approximately 94% efficacy, at least 14 days after the second dose.
You can read more from the CDC about the different COVID-19 vaccines, including Pfizer and Moderna, at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines.html.
Q. Do I need to get a booster dose to be considered fully vaccinated?
A. A booster dose is not currently required to be in compliance with either the Coast Guard military or federal civilian employee vaccine mandate. Personnel are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of the Pfeizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after receiving the J & J vaccine.
Q. What’s the most important thing I can do to protect myself against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19?
A. Vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging. If you have not done so already – start your vaccine series now.
Q. Can I “mix and match” my booster dose? In other words, can I receive a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that is different than the vaccine I received for my initial/primary series?
A. Yes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations now allow for “mix and match” dosing for booster shots. “Mix and match” COVID-19 vaccine administration for the primary series (first two doses) is NOT authorized except in exceptional circumstances.
Q. Will the Coast Guard vaccinate civilian employees?
A. Yes, all Coast Guard civilian employees, including Non-Appropriated Funds (NAF) employees will have an opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. These vaccines will be administered at your local Coast Guard clinic as the vaccine becomes available. The Coast Guard planned for its service allocation from DoD to include all Coast Guard civilian employees (including NAF employees), and we are ready to enter required information on the vaccine into authoritative DoD and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention databases for any civilian employee who volunteers to be vaccinated by the Coast Guard.
Q. Will the Coast Guard vaccinate contractors?
A. Mission essential Coast Guard contractors working onsite and in close proximity to their civilian and active duty counterparts in critical operations support activities and mission support functions are authorized to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered by their local CG clinic as it becomes available and their tier priority is reached. Further guidance for contract employees on how to obtain the vaccine from a Coast Guard clinic, including processes for requesting a vaccination, reporting procedures, general information, and other human resources policy matters will be provided through the chain of command.
Q. As a civilian employee, if I receive the vaccine in a Coast Guard clinic, how will that vaccination be tracked and what next steps should I take?
A. As a civilian employee, if you decide to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a Coast Guard clinic, you will be responsible for reporting this to your civilian health care provider so they can include the vaccine in your health care record. Also, if you receive the vaccine outside of a Coast Guard or DOD Military Treatment Facility (MTF), you are encouraged to voluntarily report receipt of the vaccine to your nearest CG clinic to assist the CG in assessing how much of the total workforce has been vaccinated.
Q. As a civilian employee, if I decline to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in a Coast Guard clinic, can I still choose to receive it?
A. Coast Guard civilian employees who decide not to be vaccinated by the Coast Guard may choose to receive the vaccine through their health care providers when the vaccine becomes available.
Q. Will the Coast Guard distribute the vaccine to the American public too?
A. The President has released a National Strategy for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness which includes direction for Federal government support to states and territories regarding national vaccine administration. The Coast Guard continues to vaccinate within the Service and stands ready to support national vaccination efforts as needed.
Q. Will the Coast Guard administer the vaccine to members/employees in the Department of Defense or other federal agencies?
A. The Coast Guard is offering to vaccinate civilian employees as the vaccine becomes available. As additional quantities of vaccine are received, the Coast Guard will reevaluate its ability to vaccinate additional populations.
Q. Will reservists be able to get the vaccine from a Coast Guard clinic?
A. All Coast Guard clinics have the Pfizer-BioNTech/Cominarty vaccine available. Reservists are authorized to receive any of the three current COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech/Cominarty, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen). Reservists may be vaccinated at their local CG clinic in the same manner as active duty members.
Similar to other required vaccinations, Reservists may also get the COVID-19 vaccine from a community site (pharmacy, medical provider, etc.). If not vaccinated at a CG clinic, reservists must provide their servicing clinic with a copy of the vaccination record so it can be entered into their medical record.
Q. Will reservists be compensated for getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
A. Reservists will not be compensated (i.e. Inactive Duty Training [IDT], Readiness Management Period [RMP], or active duty orders) for the sole purpose of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. All orders must comply with the duty requirements outlined in Chapter 2 of the Reserve Duty Status and Participation Manual, COMDTINST M1001.2(series).
Units may schedule a mass vaccination event for reservists during regularly scheduled IDT drill weekends. Most units have found this to be the most efficient way to vaccinate reservists. This may involve rescheduling one drill weekend to meet the Pfizer recommendation of administering the second dose three weeks after the first. There is no prohibition for rescheduling IDT drills during the first quarter of FY22.
To receive the vaccine from a DoD Military Treatment Facility (MTF), reservists must be on orders. Reservists may request a non-pay RMP to receive the vaccination from a MTF. However, other duties will be assigned during that period to meet the minimum time period for an RMP in Chapter 2.A of the Reserve Duty Status and Participation Manual, COMDTINST M1001.2(series).
If available, reservists may also receive the vaccine during other scheduled periods of active duty. Active duty orders will not be extended to allow the member to receive both doses of a multiple dose vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) while on active duty.
Q. If a reservist has an adverse reaction and can’t go to work in their civilian job, will the Coast Guard put them on orders and pay them for the missed time from work?
A. Severe adverse reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine are rare. Some experience soreness at the vaccination site for a couple of days, though this does not necessitate missing work. Members experiencing an adverse reaction should be handled in the same manner as they would for any other medical situation in accordance with Chapter 6 of the Reserve Policy Manual, COMDTINST M1001.28 (series).
Q. Are members of the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) required to comply with the mandate?
A. The COVID vaccine, just like the flu shot, is a condition of employment. Per ALCOAST 315/21, members in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) are required to be vaccinated in accordance with the deadline set by PSC-RPM (their assigned unit).
Members of the IRR who refuse vaccination will be treated in a manner consistent with their Active Duty and drilling Reserve counterparts.
Q. Are Commanders, Commanding Officers, or Officers in Charge authorized to order Reservists to a specific vaccine administration site outside of CG and/or military treatment facilities, where the Commander, Commanding Officer, Officer in Charge knows the Pfizer vaccine is available?
A: Yes, commands may order a member to receive their vaccinations during the performance of IDT at a vaccination site that is not a CG unit or military treatment facility. If the command directs the member to a location other than their Coast Guard unit to receive a vaccination, unit-funded travel may be required in accordance with the Joint Travel Regulations. A member may request a Readiness Management Period (RMP) and combine a vaccination with other qualified duty IAW ACN 088/21, at a location of their choice.
Q. May unvaccinated Reservists still drill? May they drill from a telework location?
A: Unvaccinated reservists should continue to perform drills and be prepared for mobilization. Commands may offer telework drills to unvaccinated reservists in the same manner in which they would consider the request from a vaccinated member. Commands are not required to allow an unvaccinated member to drill on location, where the Command makes a determination that the unvaccinated member poses and unacceptable risk to the health of the members at the unit or the public.
Q. Can a Reserve member meet the vaccine requirement by receiving a vaccination from a clinic or pharmacy in their local area that is not a military treatment facility (MTF) or Coast Guard unit?
A: Yes. Like their active-duty counterparts, a Reserve member can voluntarily comply with the vaccine requirement by receiving all required doses of an FDA-licensed vaccine, a vaccine administered under the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), or a vaccine on the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing from any clinic or pharmacy. After receiving the vaccine, the member should report this information to their servicing Coast Guard clinic. Reservists may also receive vaccinations offered by a military or contract provider, and commands may organize group events, similar to PHA events.
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.
Alternately, you may contact the clinics directly using the list below.
Pfizer sites open to 12 years old and up:
USCG Academy Clinic, New London
USCG Clinic Alameda
USCG Clinic Baltimore
USCG Clinic Base Miami
USCG Clinic Boston
USCG Clinic Cape Cod
USCG Clinic Cape May
USCG Clinic Mobile
USCG Clinic National Capitol Region
USCG Clinic New Orleans
USCG Clinic Petaluma
USCG Clinic Portsmouth
Moderna sites open to 18 years old and up:
USCG Clinic Air Station Miami
USCG Clinic Astoria
USCG Clinic Borinquen
USCG Clinic Clearwater
USCG Clinic Detroit
USCG Clinic Houston/Galveston
USCG Clinic Humboldt Bay
USCG Clinic Jacksonville
USCG Clinic Juneau
USCG Clinic Key West
USCG Clinic Kodiak
USCG Clinic LA/LB
USCG Clinic New York
USCG Clinic Port Angeles
USCG Clinic San Diego
USCG Clinic San Juan
USCG Clinic Seattle
USCG Clinic Traverse City
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 10, 2021, according to The Food and Drug Administration, everyone 12 years of age and older is now eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. People 12 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.
Clinical trials for children younger than 12 are currently underway from both Pfizer and Moderna. That data could be submitted for FDA review as early as September.
Q. Will retired Coast Guard beneficiaries have access to the vaccine?
A. Retirees should anticipate receiving the vaccine the same way they would receive any other vaccine – either through a Veterans Health Administration location, a DoD Military Treatment Facility (MTF), or from their primary care provider.
Q. If a Coast Guard military member chooses to receive the COVID-19 vaccine while it is under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and suffers lasting side effects, will the Veterans Administration (VA) cover any long-term issues caused by the EUA vaccine?
A. Yes. If a member chooses to receive a COVID-19 vaccine and suffers lasting side effects, long-term issues would be covered by the Veterans Administration (VA).
Q: I previously received the Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen vaccine. Should I be worried?
A. The syndrome that occurred in a rare number of cases is called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, also known as clotting associated with low platelet counts. The symptoms include headache, vision changes, or symptoms of a stroke. These events have been extremely rare. Most of the rare cases that occurred happened between approximately one to two weeks after receiving the shot. The following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory provides additional information on the J&J vaccine, including what you should do if you experience side effects: https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download.
Q: What should I do if I received the J&J vaccine and experience these rare symptoms?
A. If you received the vaccine in the last 14 days and develop stroke-like symptoms, have trouble breathing, or you are bruising easily, please contact your primary care provider. If your symptoms are severe, or if you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling, or persistent abdominal pain, call 911. The following Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory provides additional information on the J&J vaccine, including what you should do if you experience side effects: https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download.
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