Military Connected Families and the COVID-19 Vaccine, a Q&A with Medical Professionals

February 09, 2021

The Independence Fund was thrilled to be invited by Blue Star Families to partner in a town hall this February where Veterans were able to ask medical professionals their questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. Even as over 32 million Americans vaccinated since it became available, many people remain hesitant and want more information.  Those questions and concerns about the vaccine were answered in real time during this important dialogue. If you missed the town hall, you can watch the recording here: 

How Safe is the COVID-19 Vaccine?

The U.S. Government has been responsible for and invested in the development and facilitation of the testing of six vaccine candidates; two of these vaccines have received emergency use authorization to be administered in the U.S. Using science that dates back over a decade, the vaccine development did not sacrifice safety or scientific integrity. The decision to determine that the vaccine was safe and effective was made by organizations independent of the U.S. Government. The decision to administer it was made by professional career scientists at the FDA, an association with their own independent advisory board. The most prominent side effect is allergic reaction, happening in one-six of every one million people. People with severe allergic reactions are advised to take the vaccine at a facility with capabilities to treat allergic reactions.

Should I get my vaccine at my local MTF?

If the vaccine is available in your community, get it there at your first opportunity.Local MTFs will be calling veterans  when they reach their population group Please let your MTF know if you get vaccinated somewhere else so your records can be updated. For information, go to and select “sign up to stay informed.”

Should people who have auto immune diseases get the vaccine?

Yes! People with an auto immune disease should definitely get the vaccine since their body already has a hard time fighting off infections.

Can military family members receive the vaccine at the VA or at MTF? 

Military family members will have to get their vaccines in their local community, unless they are a designated Caregiver of a qualifying Veteran. If the Caregiver qualifies, they can get the vaccine at a VA or MTF.

How will the vaccine get overseas and will National Guard and Reserves’ families be distributed the vaccine?

Vaccines overseas are distributed based on the same phase model used in the U.S. 

National Guard and Reserve units are receiving vaccines now as part of the DOD requirements; families are eligible for care in every MTF based on the phase model, in their location.

This town hall features an impressive lineup of speakers and participants, including:

  • Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
  • General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Mrs. Hollyanne Milley
  • Richard Stone, M.D., Acting Under Secretary for Health of the Veterans Health Administration
  • Lieutenant General Ronald Place, Director of the Defense Health Agency
  • Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman Ramón Colón-López and Janet Colón

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