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COVID-19 Vaccines

Frequently asked questions

When will a vaccine be available?

Vaccine trials are being conducted according to standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If the FDA determines that a vaccine meets its safety and efficacy standards, it can make these vaccines available for use in the United States, either by approval or emergency use authorization.

The approvals and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are underway. Pfizer and Moderna have FDA approval on their vaccines. Other vaccines in production are from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Inovio, and Novavax.

How will vaccine distribution be handled?

State governments are directing the distribution of the vaccines, with guidance from the federal government, in a phased approach. Healthcare workers and long-term care residents are expected to be among the first to receive the vaccine. Distribution to the general public is not expected until spring 2021 and beyond. Providers may enter into a contract with the federal government to distribute the vaccine. Major pharmacy chains will also participate in distribution of the vaccines.

Will a vaccine be covered at no cost to Capital BlueCross members?

Yes. Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines and their copayment/coinsurance and deductible are waived.

How will I know when it will be available for me?

Pennsylvania’s Department of Health will work to get the vaccine out to residents in three phases, following CDC guidelines regarding supply, demand, and risk of infection. You can learn more about the state’s rollout plan here. Capital BlueCross encourages those who reside outside of Pennsylvania to check with their home state’s website for details about vaccine availability.

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccination is a personal decision that also impacts overall public health. Capital BlueCross encourages its members to talk to their doctors about the best choice for them and their unique health situation.

Getting vaccinated may help you be part of the pandemic solution. Vaccines prepare your immune system to fight the virus if you are exposed. Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccine candidates have been reported to be around 95% effective—meaning there was a 95% reduction in the number of cases that would have been expected if the test group had not been vaccinated.

Other steps, like mask-wearing and social distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Will the vaccine be mandatory?

The Pennsylvania Department of Health stated that it does not have any plans to make the vaccine mandatory.

Does getting the vaccine make you immune to COVID-19?

At least two of the vaccines have a reported efficacy rate of about 95%. This is a very high efficacy rate -- that means that there was a 95% reduction in the number of cases that would have been expected if the test group had not been vaccinated. While no vaccine is foolproof, the COVID-19 vaccine candidates have reportedly shown promising results of immunity and reduced severity of the illness if a person is not rendered fully immune.

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Updated October 1, 2020