How will vaccines be distributed?
The CDC has recommendations about how vaccines should be phased in for all populations, but each state will have the ability to make some decisions about the distribution of vaccines based on their own circumstances. State health departments have their own information. Here’s a link that leads to the states’ plans and to the National Academy for State Health Policy.
The CDC is working closely with state, tribal, local, and territorial health departments to make sure vaccines are available to communities once large supplies are available. Several vaccines are in development and it is likely more than one will be approved, however they may get approved at different times. Widespread availability will also depend upon manufacturing capacity.
Will members have to pay for the vaccine?
No. Under the CARES Act, there will be $0 member cost share for the vaccine and its administration during the national public health emergency regardless of whether members get the vaccine in or out of network.
How do I know the new COVID-19 vaccines are safe once available?
Government and private companies are working together to develop safe and effective vaccines. Researchers are using past research on similar viruses and combining resources to reduce the time it historically has taken to research, develop, and produce vaccines.
Many thousands of people of varying age, race, ethnicity, and different medical conditions have participated in the trials to see how effective and safe they are. The FDA and outside experts carefully review all of the clinical trial data when weighing approval of any new drug or vaccine. When the FDA has approved a vaccine for emergency use, the FDA has determined that the benefits of a vaccine outweigh the risk.
For vaccines with two doses, should members get both doses of the vaccine from the same provider or pharmacy?
Yes, members should go back to the same place where they received the first dose to get their second dose. This helps make sure that both doses of the same vaccine are delivered. We recommend members make an appointment for the second dose while they are getting their first dose. There may be special circumstances, for example, when a member moves between doses, which will require individual attention. COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable with other COVID-19 vaccine products, and people initiating the series with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine should complete the series with same product.
Can people get the vaccine if they’ve already had COVID-19?
Yes, people can get the vaccine if they’ve already had the infection. Because some evidence suggests that people previously infected can be re-infected, they may benefit from vaccination. For this reason, vaccination should be offered to people regardless of history of prior symptomatic or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection.
Is it possible for people to transmit the virus even after they’ve been vaccinated?
While the vaccine can eliminate symptoms in individuals, it’s not yet clear that getting the vaccine will reduce someone’s ability to still transmit an infection, even if they don’t have symptoms.
Information on whether the vaccine can prevent asymptomatic COVID-19 infections and the ability to spread the infection may be available early next year. As it is possible to have COVID-19 without knowing it, to avoid giving it to others, vaccinated people should continue to wear a mask, wash their hands frequently and observe social distancing.
Are COVID-19 vaccines covered under the medical or pharmacy benefit?
The COVID-19 vaccine is typically covered under the medical or pharmacy benefit, depending on the site of administration. If the vaccine is administered by a pharmacy, it will be covered under the IngenioRx pharmacy benefit. If the vaccine is administered at a doctor’s office or another clinical site of care, it would be covered under the medical benefit. Please consult with your employer or health plan for more information on coverage under the medical benefit.
Will RNA-based vaccines impact a person’s DNA?
No. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains how RNA vaccines work and what they do and don’t do here. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, vaccines.