The COVID-19 Vaccine has Arrived, Here’s What We Know

By Susan L. Tenorio, BSN, RN, Chief Operating Officer, Inter Valley Health Plan

The arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine has been eagerly anticipated for months. Now that the vaccine is ready, what does this mean for you?

Before you run out to get your dose, this is what you need to know.

The Top Manufacturers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have approved the 2 vaccines. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Three other vaccines are currently in the trial stage, these include vaccines by:

  • AstraZeneca
  • Janssen
  • Novavax

Who Will Be Vaccinated (and when?)

As you likely read in recent news, not everybody can be vaccinated immediately. The CDC recommends that people receive the immunization in this order:

  1. Health care personnel and long-term care facility residents
  2. Frontline essential workers and people 75 years and older
  3. People ages 65-74 years old, people 16-64 with underlying medical conditions and other essential workers.

The CDC states that as vaccine supply grows, more people will be offered the vaccine.

What is the dosage?

With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need 2 shots for them to work effectively.

The available data continue to support the use of two specified doses of each authorized vaccine at specified intervals. For the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 21 days between the first and second dose. And for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the interval is 28 days between the first and second dose, according to the CDC.

How to Avoid Scams

As the need for the vaccine continues to grow, you can expect scams to be prevalent. This last year of uncertainty and fear can make many people want to jump at the chance to get the vaccine quicker, in other words, push to the front of the line. Check these points before you line up for the vaccine:

  • Is the provider saying you can get the vaccine quicker through them?
  • Is the provider following the CDC guidelines?
  • Is the provider offering you quick access for the vaccine at an increased cost?

If something sounds false or suspicious, check the information against a reliable source such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Never give away information such as your medical record number or credit card number. Always seek a second opinion and you are free to call an Inter Valley representative for current information.

Do You Pay for the Vaccine?

If you are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, you will not have to pay anything for the COVID-19 vaccine. Someone asking you to pay for the vaccine or to share your Medicare number over the phone is a clear sign that it is a scam. Note, you may be asked to show your red, white & blue Medicare Card at the vaccination site to receive the shot, so keep it handy.

Medicare will not ask you to:

  • Pay to have your name on the list for vaccine
  • Pay to get the vaccine quicker
  • Call, text or email you asking you to pay for the vaccine

Where to Get the Vaccine

Although the vaccine is covered by Medicare, you do not go to a Medicare office to get the vaccine. You can expect to get the vaccine from your healthcare provider. Inter Valley Health is here to serve as your guide and point you in the right direction once the vaccine is available to us.

You got the vaccine, now what?

According to the CDC, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

For now, the CDC recommends that people not assume they are completely immune to infection after having been vaccinated. Continue to wear masks, wash your hands and social distance.

We all see light at the end of the tunnel, and we are here with you as we fight this pandemic together.

Here is a list of resources that are helpful to reference:

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