What you need to know about coronavirus
For the latest information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit:
Information for MCC of VA members
COVID-19 Vaccine Member FAQs
We are actively monitoring COVID-19 vaccine developments. Below you will find helpful information and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccines.
We have a COVID-19 Vaccine Taskforce comprised of experts, including clinicians, health plan leadership, and pharmacy network team members that meets regularly to discuss the latest developments and plan support. We are monitoring government guidance at the federal and state levels. We are taking steps to ensure you have the information you need as the information and guidelines are made available by federal and state agencies.
Vaccine Development and Distribution
Operation Warp Speed (OWS) is a coordinated effort by federal, state, and private sector partners that has aimed to accelerate the testing, supply, development, and distribution of safe and effective vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.
There are many agencies involved in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. A few of the key agencies are listed below for your reference:
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA reviews and approves or authorizes safe and effective vaccines.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – The CDC is responsible for controlling the introduction and spread of infectious diseases.
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) – ACIP is a committee within the CDC that provides advice and guidance on effective control of vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S. civilian population.
- World Health Organization (WHO) – WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
Q: When will a COVID-19 vaccine be available?
A: Currently there are two vaccines authorized by the FDA and recommended by CDC/ACIP to prevent COVID-19. These are the Moderna vaccine and Pfizer vaccine. All other vaccines in development are expected to be reviewed for FDA approval in 2021.
Q: Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
A: Yes, the vaccine appears to be very safe. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a process for ensuring that all vaccines are safe before they can be used in the United States. This process includes clinical trials and approval for both safety and effectiveness. All vaccines made available have undergone clinical trials and approval for both safety and effectiveness.
Q: What is the distribution plan for the vaccine?
A: The CDC is working alongside local state governments to figure out how to distribute an initially limited supply of vaccines to best prevent death and injury, restore how society functions, promote justice, and reduce health inequities. While guidelines may ultimately vary by state, healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents, essential workers (police, firefighters, educators, food/agriculture/utilities/transportation personnel), and adults 65 years and above—in addition to those with high-risk medical conditions—will be prioritized. People under 65 who don’t have any high-risk medical conditions will be able to get the vaccine after these priority groups.
Q: Can children get the vaccine?
A: The FDA has permitted the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be given to people age 16 years and older, and permitted the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to be given to people age 18 years and older. We will need more studies before children under 16 can get the vaccine.
Q: How will the vaccine be distributed?
A: The CDC is working with state, tribal, territorial, and local leaders to develop plans to distribute the vaccine. The CDC is also working with federal agencies and private partners, like pharmacies, on plans for distribution.
Q: How can I find where I can get a vaccine?
A: We will update our website with more information regarding vaccine availability. Or you can find more info using the CDC VaccineFinder tool at www.vaccinefinder.org. You can also speak to your doctor’s office and local pharmacy for up-to-date vaccine availability information as well.
Q: How many doses of a COVID-19 vaccine will be needed?
A: Both vaccines currently approved, and all but one under development, require two injections, or shots. The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a 2-dose series, 21 days apart. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is administered as a 2-dose series, 28 days apart.
Talk with your doctor or pharmacist when you get your first injection. They can help you understand if and when you have to return to get your second dose. When you get your vaccine, ask for your vaccination card. This will be the record of the vaccine type you received, manufacturer information, date of first vaccine, and date for your expected second vaccination. It is very important to get both doses for two-step vaccines to work.
Q: How much will the vaccine cost?
A: There will be no cost for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Q: What are the side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine? What should I do if I have side effects?
A: This vaccine is safe. It has gone through all the proper safety regulations. That said, you may have side effects of injection site pain/redness/swelling, fever, joint/muscle pain, body aches, nausea, headache and fatigue, similar to other approved vaccines. These are signs that your body is building an immune response.
Some side effects for the Moderna vaccine are:
- Injection site pain and redness
- Joint/muscle pain
Some side effects for the Pfizer vaccine are:
- Injection site pain, redness and swelling
- Joint/muscle pain
For the Pfizer vaccine, the FDA has indicated that patients with a known history of a severe allergic reaction to any component of the vaccine should not take it. If you have any questions on vaccine components or if you should take it, call your doctor.
Q: Can I get sick with COVID-19 from the vaccine?
A: Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine contains the live COVID-19 virus. There is no risk of getting infected with COVID-19 from receiving either vaccine.
Q: Do I need to wear a mask when I get a COVID-19 vaccine? Do I need to wear a mask after I get the vaccine?
A: Yes. The CDC recommends people wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. You should do this when in contact with others outside your household, when in healthcare facilities, and when receiving any vaccine. Once you receive all vaccine doses, it’s important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic. This includes:
- Covering your mouth and nose with a mask
- Washing hands often
- Staying at least 6 feet away from others
- If you’re sick, stay at home and call your doctor
Q: I already had COVID-19 and recovered. Do I still need to get a vaccine?
A: Right now, more studies are needed to determine vaccine recommendations for those who recovered from COVID-19. If you have questions specific to your health condition please talk to your doctor. We will update as more information about vaccinations for individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 becomes available.
Q: Can I get a ride to get my COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Yes. As a member, you get no-cost transportation to healthcare services and this includes any needed vaccines, like the COVID-19 vaccine. Please call the number below to set up your ride. Please try to call at least three days before your appointment.
Information for MCC of VA providers
Please review our COVID-19 Provider FAQ for answers to what MCC of VA is doing to respond to the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
Our COVID-19 Vaccine Provider FAQ has information about the COVID-19 vaccines. Posted 12/22/2020.
Our Telehealth Provider Q&A will answer all your questions about telehealth during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
Our Telehealth HEDIS Codes Reference Guide lists all the accepted telehealth codes for behavioral health and some physical health measures.
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