Since the news broke that there is an approved COVID-19 vaccine, we have received many calls with clients asking questions about when it will be available and what the cost implications will be. Here’s what we know, directly from the CDC about the COVID-19 vaccine:
1. The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. Federal partners are working together to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC has developed a new tool, v-safe, a smart-phone based, after-vaccination health checker for people who receive the vaccine so they can monitor and rapidly detect any safety issues.
2. The COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19 but two doses are needed. The second shot is needed 3 weeks after your first shot to get the most protection.
3. After the COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. These side effects may feel flu-like and could affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a few days.
4. Right now, the current supply of the vaccine is limited, but the supply will increase in the weeks and months to come. The CDC recommends the COVID-19 vaccine be offered first to healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities. The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once widely available, the plan is to have the vaccine available in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. What does that mean for you? Well, that means that unless you fall into one of those first two categories, you will most likely be waiting a little while before you can be vaccinated, so continue to take precautions (mask-up, social distance, wash your hands, etc.). Since people with underlying health conditions and those age 65 and older are in high-risk
categories for COVID-19, you will most likely be next in line to receive the vaccine.
5. Cost is not an obstacle to getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Medicare recently announced that Medicare will provide full coverage for the vaccine which means NO COST for you!
6. The first COVID-19 vaccine is being used under an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, but many other vaccines are still being developed and tested. This is an evolving process. State, tribal, local, and territorial health departments have developed distribution plans to make sure all recommended vaccines are available in your communities.
People have varying opinions on vaccines – especially this one. My best advice… talk to your healthcare professionals, do your own research, and make the decision you feel is right for you. This decision is ONLY yours to make.