High-risk eligible for COVID-19 vaccine
FORT CARSON, Colo. — Sgt. Alejandro Velez, a combat medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 12th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, administers the COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 26, 2021, at the California State University, Los Angeles, Community Vaccination Center. (Photo Credit: Capt. Daniel Parker) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. — TRICARE beneficiaries 18 to 64 with increased risk for severe illness are now eligible to receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the William “Bill” Reed Special Events Center (SEC).

Evans Army Community Hospital (EACH) began notifying high-risk beneficiaries through AudioCARE calls Feb. 25, 2021, with instructions to make an appointment for the following week.

All available appointments for high-risk beneficiaries were booked before March 1, 2021.

Fort Carson is still offering first and second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to the population 65 and older and Soldiers deploying overseas by appointment only and based on availability.

“If you qualified for any population groups in the previous phases, but have not received your COVID-19 vaccine and would like one, please call our appointment line at 526-2273,” said Maj. Edwin Pierce, EACH Healthcare Operations chief. “Soldiers and Front Line Essential Care workers must work with their leadership to schedule an appointment.”

The Defense Health Agency (DHA) recently published a federal register notice last week allowing TRICARE Prime beneficiaries the option to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from any TRICARE authorized non-network provider at no charge.

The announcement was relayed to the Fort Carson community March 3, 2021, during a virtual medical town hall hosted by EACH.

“The vaccine is provided free to Americans as it has been purchased by the U.S. government,” said Pierce. “At this time, providers are prohibited from charging patients for the vaccine in their agreements with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

Beneficiaries were reminded to keep proof of their COVID-19 immunization if they chose to receive the vaccine off post as the documentation would be needed to maintain their military health records.

Pierce and Dr. Chandra Punch, Allergy and Immunology chief, also provided updates on operations within the hospital.

“If you visited the hospital recently, you might have noticed that we discontinued screeners taking temperatures at our entrances,” said Punch. “That change went into effect Monday, February 22, 2021.”

Patients who exhibit COVID-19 related symptoms are encouraged to use the Soldier Family Care Center building entrance to access the Centralized Screening and Testing Center (CSTC).

The CSTC is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Friday and is located on the east side of the campus.

EACH will continue to update the community bimonthly during virtual medical town halls hosted on the U.S. Army Fort Carson Facebook page.

All personnel are advised to continue current mitigation measures, including frequent handwashing, wearing a mask and physical distancing until the pandemic risk of COVID-19 is substantially reduced.