JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas --
Brooke Army Medical Center will begin administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to beneficiaries ages 75 and older by appointment only at its Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston vaccination site.
As part of the Defense Department’s phased plan, BAMC also continues to administer the vaccine to eligible phase 1a and phase 1b personnel, including healthcare professionals, personnel who perform critical national capabilities, service members preparing to deploy and frontline essential workers.
“We are very pleased to extend this care to our higher-risk beneficiaries while still administering the vaccine to critical military units and medical personnel,” said BAMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Shan K. Bagby.
Making an Appointment
Vaccinations will be administered by appointment only. Appointments for eligible 1a and 1b military and civilian personnel will be coordinated by their unit/chain of command.
Beneficiaries ages 75 and older have two options for booking an appointment as of Feb. 25:
Option 1. Visit the TRICARE Online Patient Portal. This internet site offers beneficiaries 24/7 access to make appointments quickly and conveniently. To access the portal, visit https://www.tricareonline.com and click “Log In” using one of the following credentials: a DS Logon Premium (Level 2), DoD Common Access Card, or Defense Finance and Accounting Services MyPay login. To obtain DS Logon credentials, click “Register.”
To make an appointment, click “Appointments” on the portal home page. Click “Make Appointment” on the top left and follow the instructions. For additional online appointment instructions, visit https://tricare.mil/FindDoctor/AllProviderDirectories/Military/SecurePatientPortal/OnlineAppointing.
Option 2. Call the Consult Appointment Management Office, or CAMO. Beneficiaries can call 210-916-9900 or 1-800-443-2262, Option 8, Mondays through Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Please keep in mind that hold times may be longer than usual.
The COVID-19 vaccination site is not on the BAMC Campus; it is located on main post JBSA-Fort Sam Houston in the Training Support Center, building 4110, 2536 Garden Avenue – up the road from the Capt. Jennifer Moreno Clinic. BAMC repurposed this site to offer beneficiaries better vaccine access and safety.
“This site has enabled BAMC to increase its throughput while offering a convenient location for our beneficiaries,” said Maj. Jared Brynildsen, BAMC COVID-19 vaccination program officer in charge. “The larger facility also ensures people can maintain physical distancing throughout the vaccination process.”
A face covering is required to enter the facility. Once the vaccine is administered, individuals will need to remain in the vaccination area for 15 to 30 minutes depending on health history for observation. During check out, they will be offered the opportunity to book an appointment for their second dose, which is administered at or around the 21-day mark.
Across town, the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center is also currently vaccinating eligible phase 1a and 1b personnel, to include beneficiaries ages 75 and older. Due to high demand, all 75 and older appointments at WHASC are filled at this time.
Down the Road
Following Phase 1b personnel, the San Antonio Military Health System, or SAMHS, will later expand its efforts to include Phase 1c, which encompasses eligible beneficiaries age 65-74 and beneficiaries age 16 and older at increased risk for severe illness as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control.
For detailed information on the Department of Defense’s phased plan, visit https://www.health.mil/About-MHS/MHS-Toolkits/COVID-19-Vaccine-Toolkit/COVID-19-Vaccine-Who-Can-Get-the-Vaccine-First.
About the Vaccine
SAMHS is administering the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine under special authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. The vaccine, which is administered in two doses 21 days apart, is expected to have a 95 percent efficacy rate following receipt of the second dose, according to the CDC website.
For detailed information on the Pfizer vaccine, visit https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/index.html.
Even with such a high efficacy rate, people should stay vigilant even after getting the vaccine until more is learned about the protective immunity these vaccines confer, noted Air Force Col. Heather Yun, BAMC’s deputy commander for medical services and an infectious disease physician.
“Remember the 3 Ws -- wear a mask, wash hands or hand sanitize regularly, and watch your physical distance,” she said. “Taking protective measures and getting the vaccine when available are the best ways to protect ourselves, our families and our communities and put an end to this terrible pandemic.
For more information on the DOD’s vaccine program, visit https://health.mil/Military-Health-Topics/Combat-Support/Public-Health/Coronavirus/COVID-19-Vaccine-Efforts.
For information on the SAMHS vaccine program, visit https://www.jbsa.mil, or follow BAMC or WHASC on social media. Additionally, BAMC will host a Facebook Live COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall on March 9 at 1:30 p.m. at https://www.facebook.com/BrookeArmyMedicalCenter.