Frequently Asked Questions
Is the COVID-19 Vaccine covered by the Health Plan?
Choose any pharmacy in the Optum network for a $0 copay.
Where Can I get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
You can receive the vaccine at the Department of Health in Manatee County or at select CVS, Publix, Walgreens, Walmart and Winn-Dixie locations in Manatee County. Individuals will need to register with each site and determine requirements.
How Does the Vaccine Work? [from CDC & Arthur J. Gallagher Clinical Pharmacy Division]
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines are a “mRNA vaccine” which means it contains “messaging code” that tells our bodies to create the “COVID spike protein.” When your cells release the “COVID spike protein,” your immune system will form antibodies without patients becoming sick. This means that you cannot get the Coronavirus (Covid-19) from the vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 (95%).
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different approach called adenovirus technology. It works in a similar way as the others and you cannot get the Coronavirus (Covid-19) from the vaccine. While it is slightly less effective (aprox 85% effective after 28 days), it is still considered a highly effective vaccine and only requires one shot.
The Vaccine Is New – Is It Safe? [from Arthur J. Gallagher Clinical Pharmacy Division]
- Many people are concerned about the vaccine being new and previously untested. However, mRNA technology is not entirely new. It has been studied and used in cancer as well as being studied for other Coronaviruses. It has not been widely used because those viruses never reached pandemic proportions. Johnson & Johnson's technology is also fairly new but is also used for J&J's Ebola vaccine.
- Many people are concerned about the relative speed in which it was developed.
- Because we are in a global pandemic, much of the “red tape” in the drug approval process was cut, and in contrast, significant technology and funding was added. Normally, there would be months of waiting in each phase of clinical trials, whereas this was addressed as the number 1 priority.
- The number of people tested is on par, and in many cases better, than vaccines that are currently available.
- Others are concerned about side effects that have not been seen yet. In general, most vaccines show symptoms in the first 6 weeks. Severe symptoms are extremely rare and have been shown in people who already have severe allergic reactions to start. Furthermore, the risk of medical complications from getting the virus is far greater than the risk of taking the vaccine.
Get more facts from the CDC at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/facts.html
Where Can I learn More About the Vaccine?
The CDC has resources available that explain the science of the vaccine and how it works. There are currently three vaccines approved in the US and there are some differences and some potential allergic reactions you should be aware of. Consult with your doctor if you have questions regarding whether or not you should get the vaccine.
- General information about COVID vaccines: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/index.html
- Learn more about the Pfizer vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Pfizer-BioNTech.html
- Learn more about the Moderna vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/Moderna.html
- Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/janssen.html