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COVID-19: Vaccine Q&A

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine helps the body develop immunity from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine provides you protection from COVID-19. It is important to note that you cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. We encourage our members and providers to get vaccinated when they are eligible.

After you receive any vaccine, your body begins the process of building immunity, which can sometimes cause you to experience mild side effects. This is normal and a sign that the vaccine works for you. If you do experience side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, they will be similar to the symptoms that many other common vaccines often cause, such as temporary soreness in your arm, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache.

I have heard different vaccine names. Which one is best for me? Can I choose which one I receive?

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. People who currently fall into the categories of either Phase 1 or Phase 2 cannot decide which vaccine they receive. It is unclear whether the general public will be able to choose which vaccine they receive in the future.

Both vaccines had high success rates during clinical trials. Based on clinical evidence, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more than 94 percent effective in protecting you from having symptomatic infection after receiving both doses of the vaccine.

When can I get the vaccine? Will there be a shortage?

Vaccine distribution in Massachusetts will occur in a phased approach in order to prioritize high-risk community members. Currently, Massachusetts residents age 75 and older are able to get the vaccine. As the supply of COVID-19 vaccines increases, the timeline of distribution will expand to include more individuals. For eligibility details, visit Mass.gov

Will I be covered if I get the vaccine from an out-of-network provider?

The COVID-19 vaccine is covered by the federal government and will be provided free of charge to the public. There is no cost associated for Tufts Health Plan members, including out-of-pocket fees or copayments related to the COVID-19 vaccine administration. All health care provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccines must agree not to charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services.

How much does the vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine is covered by the federal government and will be provided free of charge to the public. There is no cost associated for Tufts Health Plan members, including out-of-pocket fees or copayments related to the COVID-19 vaccine administration. All health care provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccines must agree not to charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services.

Will I have to pay out of pocket for any vaccine costs?

There are no out-of-pocket costs for Tufts Health Plan members for either the COVID-19 vaccine or for the cost of administering it.

Where can I get the vaccine?

Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have it available to be administered in doctors’ offices, select retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers. For vaccine location information visit Mass.gov.

Are there any vaccines that do not require two doses?

There is no vaccine currently on the market that only requires one dose. Right now, you need to receive two doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines given 21 or 28 days apart, depending on the vaccine. Both doses are needed for the vaccine to be effective.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Temporary soreness in your arm, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache are all normal. For more info, the CDC provides details on what to expect after getting the vaccine.

I get sick from the flu shot. Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?

Like many other vaccines, you may experience side effects while your body is building immunity. Temporary soreness in your arm, fever, chills, tiredness, and headache are all normal and should go away after a few days. If you experience side effects that are worrying to you and are not going away after a few days, we urge you to contact your doctor or health care provider.

How often will I need to get the vaccine? One time? Annually?

We don’t know yet. Because the virus is so new, researchers will need time to monitor its response in order to determine how long the vaccine will protect you from the virus.

Can the vaccine be administered in my long-term care facility instead of at the pharmacy?

Yes. During Phase 1, the federal government has contracted with Walgreens and CVS to go to each facility and provide vaccines to long-term care staff and residents.

Will members have the choice of getting the vaccine(s) from either a medical provider or pharmacist (when available)?

Continue to check Mass.gov to determine if/when a vaccine is available at your local pharmacy. For vaccine location information, visit Mass.gov.

When will members be able to get the vaccine? What is the order of priority?

Recently, the CDC made recommendations for who should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine first. However, visit Mass.gov for details on the phased approach

Can I move up on the vaccination priority list and get my vaccine today?

Since vaccine priority is related to your age, medical conditions, and work, we recommend that you check Mass.gov for more information.

What can I do after I’ve been fully vaccinated for COVID-19?

The CDC has provided guidelines for what you should and should not do once you’ve been fully vaccinated. These guidelines will help keep you and others safe during the remainder of the pandemic. 

Will I receive anything to serve as proof of my vaccination?

At your vaccine appointment, you will receive a COVID-19 vaccination record card. The card will show your name and date of birth, as well as which COVID-19 vaccine you received, where you received it and the date of your vaccination appointment. If you need to return for a second dose of the vaccine, the card will serve as a reminder; be sure to bring the card to your second appointment.

Please do not post pictures of your vaccination record card on social media or share proof of your immunization publicly. This is considered sensitive information that may put you at risk for vaccine scammers and identify theft.

We encourage you to hold on to your vaccine card and keep it with your personal records. The CDC offers tools to help you keep your vaccine records up to date.

Resources & Tools

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