Video by Matthew Hilborn
Secretary of Defense Discusses COVID-19 Vaccine
March 4, 2021 | 1:15
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III discusses why he received the COVID-19 vaccine and why it is important for the Joint Force.

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Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine is Approved for 12 and older

-The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now approved by the FDA and CDC for those 12 and older.  Edwards AFB is awaiting approval from DoD to start offering Pfizer to our 12-15 year old population, hopefully in the next 2 weeks.  The Pfizer vaccine is currently available to all eligible 16 years and older.

-Pfizer Vaccine is currently available for 12 and older in the community.  Please go to to find sites and set up an appointment.

-Check here for LA County sites that offer Pfizer vaccine:

-You can also text your zip code to 438829 for sites that offer Pfizer vaccine near you.

-Kern County Fairgrounds, Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, Antelope Valley Health Center, and Palmdale Oasis Park Recreation Center are offering Pfizer vaccine, and may have walk-in availability. Most CVS pharmacy locations also have Pfizer.

-Please see below for more information:


-- SCHEDULE YOUR VACCINE APPOINTMENT HERE Please use the following link to schedule your appointment. Follow the on screen instructions. When presented with a calendar, click on the date (the actual number) that you wish to schedule and the select a time.

Eligible to all DoD PHASES and DoD Tri-Care beneficiaries to include AD, GS, AD dependents, retirees, and mission critical/essential contractors 16 years of age or older.

-- Learn about DoD's COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts.

-- Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

For overall information on the Air Force response and to view a comprehensive list of resources, visit the Air Force COVID-19 feature page. 

--Space A Vaccine Location: Airman and Family Readiness Center

--Off-base vaccination information and locations:


•Links to General Info, Current Eligibility, and local county sites

CALIFORNIA DPH: or call 833-422-4255

• Primary appointment system for FEMA/Public Health departments/some community partners sites


•Links to different vaccine sites in Kern County


•Direct appointment link or call 833-540-0473:

•Also links to community partners/health centers in LA County including Lancaster/Palmdale

•LA Care Medi-Cal/Cal MediConnect eligible for walk-up vaccinations and transportation to/from


LOCAL COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS (free, do not need to be a member):

•Kaiser Permanente: or call 833-574-2273

•Includes Antelope Valley Fairgrounds site

•Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley:

•Several locations in Kern or call 661-771-8400


•Locations in Cal City, Palmdale, Lancaster

PHARMACIES – select locations

•CVS :


•Rite Aid:


•Costco info:

•Albertsons/Vons info:

•Direct link:



•Good Rx:

•Vaccine Finder:

•Vaccinate CA:


-Check with your medical provider/health care system/medical insurance or your employer for other opportunities

-Check local newspapers or your city’s info page for pop up sites or events near you

-For Edwards AFB Vaccine Center, check with your supervisor for specific appointment links.

For more info visit: or call 661-277-7118, option 1, 1

*Active Duty members need pre-authorization for services requiring insurance information (i.e. off-base Urgent Cares or Clinics)


Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: When is a COVID-19 vaccine going to be available? 

A1: The DoD initially expects a limited quantity of COVID-19 vaccine, and rolling delivery to MTFs and other health care facilities after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves vaccine(s) for use. When the vaccine(s) becomes available, DoD will follow the CDC’s prioritization guidelines (framework) for distribution. Talk to your provider or local MTF for more details about when vaccine will become available. Source: DHA-IHD. DoD COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Planning Update Newsletter. 4 November 2020. 

Q2: What is an Emergency Use Authorization? 

A2: Drugs and vaccines have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ensure that only safe and effective products are available to the American public. During public health emergencies, when there is good scientific reason to believe that a product is safe and is likely to treat or prevent disease, the FDA may authorize its use through an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), even if definitive proof of the effectiveness of the drug or vaccine is not known. FDA pre-licensure approval is considered for treatment or prevention of diseases that are very serious. Source: MHS Communications Plan. COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) Prevention – Vaccination Questions and Answers. 

Q3: What kind of information will be available to me before I receive the vaccine? 

A3: Each potential recipient of COVID-19 vaccine will receive a vaccine-specific Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Fact Sheet for Recipients from the FDA, which will provide the following information: z Basic information on COVID-19, symptoms, and what to discuss with a health care provider before vaccination z Who should and should not receive the vaccine z That recipients have the choice to receive the vaccine z Dosage and vaccine series information z Risks and benefits of the vaccine z An explanation of what an EUA is and why it is issued z Any approved available alternatives for preventing COVID-19 z Additional resources Source: CDC. COVID-19 Vaccine Training Modules.

Q4: How many doses of vaccine will I need? 

A4: Early COVID-19 vaccines will be given in a two-dose series separated by 21 or 28 days, depending on the product. Vaccines from different manufacturers will NOT be interchangeable. The vaccine must receive the same vaccine for both doses. Source: DHA-IHD. DoD COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Planning Update Newsletter. 4 November 2020. 

Q5: How will I be able to keep track of what vaccine I got and when I need to get a second dose? 

A5: All vaccine recipients will be provided a copy of the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card after receipt of the vaccine. It is recommended that the second-dose appointment be made at the time of initial vaccinations, or instructions provided on procedures for second-dose follow-up. If a vaccine recipient has a smartphone, it is recommended that they take a photo of the vaccination record card as a back-up copy and set a calendar reminder for receipt of the second dose. Source: Draft DHA-IPM 20-004 . DoD Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19 Vaccination Program (CVP) Implementation. 

Q6: If I get vaccinated, do I still need to wear a mask and practice social distancing? 

A6: Masks and physical distancing will still be necessary until a large proportion of the population is vaccinated and the vaccine is proven to provide long-term protection. Global and national public health authorities are expected to continue to recommend wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, for everyone, until pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced. Source: MHS Communications Plan. COVID-19 (SARS-COV-2) Prevention – Vaccination Questions and Answers.

Q7: Are there certain people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19?

 A7: The risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19 increases with age, with the greatest risk among those aged 85 or older. Adults of any age with the following conditions are also at increased risk of severe illness: Cancer; chronic kidney disease, COPD; heart disease; weakened immune system; obesity; pregnancy; sickle cell disease; smoking; and type 2 diabetes mellitus. COVID-19 is a new disease. Currently there are limited data and information about the impact of many underlying medical conditions and whether they increase risk. Talk with your provider about your individual risk factors and appropriate precautions. Sources: CDC. Older Adults. CDC. People with Certain Medical Conditions. people-with-medical-conditions.html 

Q8: How do we know if the vaccine is safe? How will you monitor and track vaccine side effects? 

A8: DoD is confident in the stringent regulatory process and requirements of the FDA. Manufacturers are required to submit their raw data for the FDA to review. Safety, immune response, and efficacy data from the trial stages are submitted to the FDA before they are authorized for use and distribution. Per FDA requirements, DoD will be monitoring and tracking vaccine reports of vaccine side effects through various surveillance activities both internal and external to the DoD. 

Q9: Will DoD provide vaccines for civilian employees and contractor staff working in military hospitals or clinics? How about working on installation or in depots and arsenals? 

A9: The DoD will offer vaccine(s) to civilian and contractor staff with direct patient care and to those who normally receive vaccine for occupational health purposes, as authorized in accordance with DoD regulation. This may include some of those working on installations or depots or arsenals, and we are continuing to refine these populations in preparation for the additional vaccination efforts.

Q10: Will TRICARE beneficiaries including military retirees have access to the vaccine? 

A10: Yes, based on DoD prioritization. While there is limited vaccine availability, vaccination distribution prioritization will focus on those providing direct medical care, maintaining essential national security and installation functions, deploying forces, and those beneficiaries at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19. 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 jurisdiction. 

Q11: Where should I be vaccinated?

 A11: To the greatest extent possible, beneficiaries in priority groups who are enrolled at Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) should come to the MTF to be vaccinated. This will ensure the maximum number of vaccine opportunities allocated to jurisdictions other than DoD are available for the non-DoD population. TRICARE beneficiaries who receive care at DoD MTFs on a space-available basis can alternately receive vaccine through the local civilian jurisdiction.


DoD population schema

The Department of Defense population schema has been updated and no longer includes a Phase 3.

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