Pfizer vaccine reserved for DOD service members at base hospital

Pediatric doses still available, base says

Some military hospitals, including at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, are restricting the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to service members only, who are required to be vaccinated.

Only uniformed service members and young children receiving pediatric doses may get the COVID-19 vaccine at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center until further notice, the 88th Medical Group said Wednesday.

No new appointments at Wright-Patterson Medical Center for the vaccine are available unless those seeking the shot are DOD service members, the medical group said. This includes first, second and booster doses.

“Ensuring our active duty force is 100% armed for the COVID-19 fight, the Defense Health Agency announced that only DOD (Department of Defense) service members can receive the legacy Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine offered at Wright-Patterson Medical Center,” the group said on social media.

“Production of the legacy vaccine has ended,” the medical group added. “All available vials of the legacy ‘Purple Top’ Pfizer vaccine represent the only vaccine that can be used for the mandatory vaccination of service members.”

Similar announcements are being made at other military hospitals.

“Temporary adjustments may be experienced over the next few weeks as the production of the legacy Pfizer vaccine stopped in December of 2021,” the Walter Reed Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, said on its website. “DOD’s current supply of the legacy Pfizer vaccine in circulation is being reserved for use in the primary vaccine series required for service members.”

Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia made the same announcement on Facebook, saying that after Jan. 31, beneficiaries ages 12-17 years, should “temporarily obtain the COVID-19 vaccine through the civilian network.”

“Due to DoD supply restrictions of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, (Fort Belvoir Community Hospital) will reduce administration of the vaccine to our beneficiary population ages 12 years and older by the end of January,” that hospital said.

Once the group receives more vaccines, it will reopen appointments for all beneficiaries, the 88th Medical Group said.

Off-base health care facilities offering the COVID-19 vaccine can be found at https://www.vaccines.gov/

Current vaccine appointments will be honored, Wright-Patterson said. But the walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic scheduled for Friday has been canceled. All appointments already booked for Jan. 28 will be honored in the Wright-Patterson Medical Center’s Immunizations Clinic.

The pediatric dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to11 is still available by appointment in the Wright-Patterson Pediatric Clinic and can be booked online at https://informatics-stage.health.mil/COVAX/.

A Defense Health Agency spokesman didn’t provide answers to questions by deadline.

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