COVID-19 Updates

COVID-19 Vaccines - Frequently Asked Questions

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

FDA-authorized vaccine distribution and availability 

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine? Are you offering the vaccine?
  • We’re working closely with the Florida Department of Health to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines. 
  • The state of Florida has created a website where eligible Floridians can preregister for a COVID-19 vaccination: https://myvaccine.fl.gov/
  • Vaccine administration sites by county can be found at the Florida Department of Health website. 
  • Several retail stores are offering the vaccine in select counties:
  • UnitedHealthcare has a COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Locator that can be searched nationwide by zip code. 
  • Due to the current limited supply of vaccines, distribution is taking place in phases in accordance with federal and state guidelines.
  • We plan to administer the Moderna mRNA vaccine as soon as the supply is available to us. 

How will I know when to get the COVID-19 vaccine? 
People should speak to their primary care provider or other health care professional about vaccine recommendations given their specific health conditions. 

How much will it cost me to get vaccinated?
You will have $0 cost-share on FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, including when 2 doses are required, with both in- and out-of-network providers through the national public health emergency period. 

About the FDA-authorized vaccines 

Which COVID-19 vaccines have been FDA-authorized? 
The COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech was authorized for emergency use (known as an EUA) among people age 16 and older by the FDA on Dec. 11, 2020. This is a two-dose vaccine, given three weeks apart. The Moderna vaccine was authorized for emergency use for people age 18 and older by the FDA on Dec. 18, 2020. This is a two-dose vaccine, given four weeks apart. Optum plans to administer the Moderna vaccine when it becomes available to us.

What can you tell me about the protection COVID-19 vaccines will provide? 
FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines will help protect you from getting COVID-19. In fact, each vaccine reported strong protection from the disease:  

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: According to the FDA, the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine was ~95% effective at preventing COVID-19 in people age 16 and older, based on the Pfizer-BioNTech Phase 3 trial. 
  • Moderna: According to the FDA, the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine was ~94% effective at preventing COVID-19 in people age 18 and older, based on the Moderna Phase 3 trial. 

Follow vaccination instructions from the manufacturer. The effectiveness is the level the vaccine prevents COVID-19. 

Here are important reminders on the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide: 

  • Vaccines can take several weeks after the second dose to provide protection. 
  • COVID-19 vaccines will help protect you from getting COVID-19, but you should follow CDC and state health guidelines to stop the spread of the disease.
  • The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown. 

Because of these reasons, continue to follow public health safety guidelines to help protect yourself and others. Wear a face mask, practice physical distancing and wash hands regularly.

When should I plan on getting the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?  
You will need to get both doses in the required time frame to have protection from COVID-19. We encourage you to schedule appointments for both doses at the same time. Your vaccination provider should help you know when to get the second dose. The CDC is also offering the v-safe mobile app to help with second dose reminders. 

Follow the vaccination instructions from the manufacturer, which includes making sure both doses are from the same manufacturer. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, given three weeks apart. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine will require two doses, given four weeks apart. We strongly encourage you to schedule both doses at the same time to meet these time frames and get protection from COVID-19. The vaccination provider should assist you with scheduling the second dose when you receive your first dose.  

If I get a vaccine from either Pfizer or Moderna, do the two shots need to be from the same manufacturer?
Yes. It is critical that both the first and second dose of the COVID-19 vaccines are the same product.  

Will I need to be vaccinated every year? 
The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown.

Can I get the virus from the vaccine?
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19. The messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines that are currently authorized by the FDA do not contain the COVID-19 virus and are not capable of causing COVID-19 infection. Also, none of the other COVID-19 vaccines being developed in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each of the vaccines is to teach the body to find and fight the COVID-19 virus. Read more about these facts and others on the CDC website.

What are the potential side effects of the vaccine?
Similar to other vaccines, recipients of the COVID-19 vaccine can expect to have injection site discomfort, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, chills, and fever in the 24-48 hours after receiving the vaccine, with stronger reactions expected after the second dose. Side effects mean that your body is making antibodies to protect you from future infection. Side effects do not mean you have a COVID-19 infection.

If you have side effects that bother you or do not go away, you should report them to your vaccination provider or primary care provider.  

In the event of an emergency, you should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.  

Are there people who should not get COVID-19 vaccines? 
People with certain conditions or of different ages are not yet recommended to get FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. If you have questions about getting FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, talk to your health care provider.  

According to the CDC, if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or an injected medicine, you should ask your doctor if you should get the COVID-19 vaccine. A severe reaction is one that requires treatment at a hospital or with medications like an EpiPen (epinephrine).  

The CDC recommends the people who have seasonal allergies, or allergies to food, pets or oral medications, can still be vaccinated. If you have any questions, you should check with your health care provider. 

If you have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 the CDC recommends waiting 90 days before receiving the vaccine.

For more information, you can read the FDA’s Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet.

What are the ingredients in the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine?
Per FDA, ingredients are:
messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)
lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000 dimyristoyl glycerol [DMG]
cholesterol and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine [DSPC])
tromethamine hydrochloride 
acetic acid
sodium acetate

 About the FDA emergency use authorization process and vaccine safety 

What is an EUA or Emergency Use Authorization?
The FDA has a review process for safety and effectiveness that it completes before it will authorize vaccines and other key preventive and treatment measures for use during public health emergencies. In December 2020, the FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) to expedite availability of the first two COVID-19 vaccines. 

What is the process for FDA-authorized vaccines?   
The FDA has a review process that it completes before it will authorize vaccines for emergency use by the general public. Once the FDA authorizes a COVID-19 vaccine, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meets to vote on recommending the vaccine. If recommended, the CDC director reviews and approves who should receive the vaccine. The CDC has information on the process here.  

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe? 

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines, including the recently FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines, are as safe as possible. Even after emergency use authorization, the FDA continues to review clinical data about the vaccines. 

Helpful resources

Want to learn more? Here are clinical resources to help in understanding COVID-19 vaccines. 

Facts about COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/vaccine-benefits/facts.html
8 things to know about COVID-19 vaccines from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/8-things.html 
Authorized COVID-19 vaccines from the FDA:  https://www.fda.gov/emergency-preparedness-and-response/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19/covid-19-vaccines 


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