COVID-19 vaccines

Frequently asked questions

When and where can I get my vaccine?

When

The quick answer is: It depends. Every state government has its own vaccine distribution plan and guidelines, which prioritize who can get the vaccine and when. States are using age, health conditions, type of employment, and other factors to determine who can get the vaccine first. The best way to determine when you can get your vaccine and where you can get one is to visit your state department of health’s website.

If you live in Pennsylvania, the Department of Health’s brief, online questionnaire, Your Turn, can tell you if you’re eligible to get vaccinated at this time. If you live outside of Pennsylvania, visit your state’s health department’s website for more information. The federal Department of Health and Human Services can help too.

You may also contact your healthcare provider’s office to learn more about getting vaccinated. The office may be able to provide additional details about the vaccines’ availability and when you can get yours.

Where

If you determine that you are eligible for the vaccine at this time, you can check with your department of health’s website to see where vaccines are being administered. In some states, you may be able to register to receive the vaccine on that site. In other states, such as Pennsylvania, you must visit the vaccine provider’s website directly to make an appointment.

Vaccine availability is limited, so if an appointment isn’t available at one vaccine provider site, you can check others.

Below are links to vaccine information pages of several healthcare systems and pharmacy provider sites. They do not represent all of the locations that may be available to you. For a full list of Pennsylvania providers authorized to administer the COVID-19 vaccine visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's website.

Facilities

Pharmacies

Will a vaccine be covered at no cost to our members?

Yes. The federal government is covering the cost of the vaccine, and payers (health plans and self-funded groups) must cover the cost of administering the vaccines. That means Capital BlueCross’ medical and prescription drug benefits will cover those services with no member cost share during the public health emergency.

If members have Capital BlueCross medical and prescription drug coverage, the administration of the vaccine will be covered according to the type of provider from which they receive the vaccine. If a member gets the vaccine from a doctor or other non-pharmacy healthcare professional, the cost of administration will be covered by their medical benefits. If a member gets the vaccine from a pharmacy, it will be covered by their prescription drug benefits.

Should I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19, and may also protect people around you. If you have concerns about your unique health situation, we encourage our members to talk to their doctors about the best choice for them.

Getting vaccinated will also 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.

Learn more about the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccination from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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.

What should I expect when I go to my vaccine appointment?

When you visit the vaccine provider site, you should expect that you will need to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth and stay at least six feet away from others while waiting in any lines. The vaccine provider will also wear a mask.

You should expect to receive a fact sheet that tells you about the specific vaccine you are being offered. After you receive your vaccination, you should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you which COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. If you need a second dose, it’s likely you will set up the date and time for that appointment before you leave the first.

You can expect to wait up to 20 minutes or so after your shot to be monitored for any immediate, serious side effects, which are rare.

What should I expect after I receive the vaccine?

Some people may experience minor side effects, such as soreness at the injection site, fatigue, or headache. Talk with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your side effects or to ask about ways to treat them.

With most COVID-19 vaccines, you will need a second shot to get the full protective benefit. Talk to your vaccine provider about how and when to schedule the second appointment. Be sure to get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one, unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to get a second shot.

It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require two shots may not give you the vaccine’s full protective benefit until a week or two after your second shot.

Even after you’ve had both shots and have built up immunity, you should still practice safety measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing from those outside of your household. If you are exposed to the virus, you may not have symptoms, but could carry the virus.

Consider downloading v-safe, a free, smartphone-based tool from the CDC that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe also reminds you to get your second dose if you need one.

What if I can’t get a spot in line?

Right now, vaccine supplies aren’t keeping up with demand, but the good news is that supplies are expected to begin increasing. President Biden forecast that every American who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of July 2021. We will continue to share information as we learn more.