What You Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines

What You Should Know About the COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are now available and are vital in the fight against the pandemic. The sooner a large part of the public builds herd immunity to the virus, the sooner we can return to normal life with family and friends at school, work, church and holiday get-togethers.

The vaccine, in combination with safety tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer a powerful combo to protect us from COVID-19.

Things to Know

Safety is a top priority. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses a set of standards to measure the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. The COVID-19 vaccines are approved by the FDA. Talk with your doctor to see if it’s right for you.

You can get the vaccine at many places. COVID-19 shots are a offered in many local health clinics, neighborhood pharmacies, and even some grocery stores. Ask your doctor or community health center if they provide vaccines. The CDC website – vaccines.gov    – can point you to a provider. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 800-232-0233.

You may need more than one shot. Some of the COVID-19 vaccines call for two or more doses for the most protection. The safest plan is to get all of your vaccines in the series from the same provider. Once you get your first dose, ask about when you should get your follow-up doses.

Be aware of scammers. Criminals are using COVID-19 as a chance to commit health care fraud. Be wary if you get a call about getting on a vaccine “wait list” or setting a time to get vaccinated. Don’t enter personal information on a website or email “application” for the vaccines.

What’s Covered

With a BCBSMT health plan, you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. Talk with your health care provider about when you can get yours and any other questions you have about the vaccines.

Some self-funded groups may not waive the cost for the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration. If you aren’t sure what your plan covers, contact your company’s benefits administrator or call BCBSMT Customer Service at the number listed on your member ID card.

Members with pharmacy benefits through a BCBSMT employer health plan, individual plan and Medicare Advantage plan will be able to get the vaccines with no out-of-pocket cost at any provider or pharmacy during the public health emergency. Some grandfathered health plans may not cover preventive care like vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine. Check your plan benefits if you aren’t sure or call Customer Service at the number on your BCBSMT member ID card for help.

If you have pharmacy benefits administered by a pharmacy benefit manager other than Prime Therapeutics®, please call them for your pharmacy-related COVID-19 questions, including vaccine coverage.

If you don’t have insurance, there are programs that can help. Your doctor or a local pharmacy can tell you what your choices are.

Why Should I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

Like the flu and other communicable diseases, you lower the chance of spreading it to other people if you get a vaccine. Some people who are COVID-19 positive don’t show symptoms or may have different symptoms than the most common ones. Getting vaccinated offers the widest protection to the greatest number of people.

For other resources and information about COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 website.

The CDC   and FDA   have more information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Sources: Frequently Asked Questions About Covid-19 Vaccination, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022; How Do I Find a COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster, leaving site icon Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2022.

Originally published 1/26/2021; Revised 2022

Anonymous