COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Find answers to your questions

About the vaccine

Two COVID-19 vaccines, from Pfizer and Moderna, have received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food + Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccines will be available to all individuals free of charge (as required by the CARES Act). The federal government has pre-purchased hundreds of millions of doses.

  • Early supplies of the vaccine are limited.
  • Plans are underway at the state level for safe, equitable, and effective delivery. 
  • Teams of public health officials are creating priority groups.
  • We are hopeful that over the next few months, most high-risk groups will have had an opportunity to be vaccinated.

The vaccine will require two doses, given 21 or 28 days apart depending on the vaccine. You will need to take both doses for the vaccine to be effective.

Be aware of vaccine scams

As COVID-19 vaccine distribution begins, be aware that scams are starting to emerge. It’s important to know what signs to watch for, including:

  • You are asked to pay out-of-pocket to get the vaccine or early access to the vaccine
  • You are asked to put your name on a vaccine waiting list or to get early access
  • Marketers offering to sell or ship doses of the vaccine for payment

Learn more about how to protect yourself and report potential COVID-19 fraud here.

Frequently asked questions


What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine helps the body develop immunity from the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine provides you protection from COVID-19. It is important to note that you cannot catch COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. The COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. We encourage our members and providers to get vaccinated when they are eligible.

After you receive any vaccine, your body begins the process of building immunity, which can sometimes cause you to experience mild side effects. This is normal and a sign that the vaccine works for you. If you do experience side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, they will be similar to the symptoms that many other common vaccines often cause, such as temporary soreness in your arm, fever, chills, tiredness and headache.

I have heard different vaccine names. Which one is best for me? Can I choose which one I receive?

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization. People who currently fall into the categories of either Phase 1 or Phase 2 cannot decide which vaccine they receive. It is unclear whether the general public will be able to choose which vaccine they receive in the future.

Both vaccines had high success rates during clinical trials. Based on clinical evidence, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are more than 94 percent effective in protecting you from having symptomatic infection after receiving both doses of the vaccine.

Can I go sooner than planned? Will there be a shortage?

Each state has published recommendations for which groups of individuals should receive priority for the initial limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you fall into one of these priority high-risk categories, you may be eligible to receive the vaccine now. As the supply of COVID-19 vaccines increases, the timeline of distribution will expand to include more individuals. Information specific to the states where we operate is included below:

Will I be covered if I get the vaccine from an out-of-network provider?

The COVID-19 vaccine is covered by the federal government and will be provided free of charge to the public. There is no cost associated for Tufts Health Plan members, including out-of-pocket fees or copayments related to the COVID-19 vaccine administration. All health care provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccines must agree not to charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services.

How much does the vaccine cost?

The COVID-19 vaccine is covered by the federal government and will be provided free of charge to the public. There is no cost associaed for Tufts Health Plan members, including out-of-pocket fees or copayments related to the COVID-19 vaccine administration. All health care provider sites that receive COVID-19 vaccines must agree not to charge patients any out-of-pocket fees or deny anyone vaccination services.

Will I have to pay out of pocket for any vaccine costs?

There are no out-of-pocket costs for Tufts Health Plan members for either the COVID-19 vaccine or for the cost of administering it.

When is it going to be available to me?

Early supplies of the vaccine are limited, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that most high-risk groups should have the opportunity to be vaccinated over the coming months. Based on the CDC recommendation, initial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to health care personnel and long-term care facility residents, followed by frontline essential workers. Each state has issued a phased approach to prioritize its high-risk community members. As vaccine availability increases in each state, the timelines of distribution will expand to include more individuals. You can check with your local health department for more information on when you will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

Where can I get the vaccine?

Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have it available to be administered in doctors’ offices, select retail pharmacies, hospitals and federally qualified health centers. Information specific to the states where we operate is included below:

When available if my doctor doesn't have it, can I go to anyone?

When the vaccine becomes available to the general public, state websites will provide information about vaccination sites. Information specific to the states where we operate is included below:

Are there any vaccines that do not require two doses?

There is no vaccine currently on the market that only requires one dose. Right now, you need to receive 2 doses of the currently available COVID-19 vaccines given 21 or 28 days apart, depending on the vaccine. Both doses are needed for the vaccine to be effective.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

After receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, you may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Temporary soreness in your arm, fever, chills, tiredness and headache are all normal. For more info, the CDC provides details on what to expect after getting the vaccine.

I get sick from the flu shot. Will the COVID-19 vaccine make me sick?

Like many other vaccines, you may experience side effects while your body is building immunity. Temporary soreness in your arm, fever, chills, tiredness and headache are all normal and should go away after a few days. If you experience side effects that are worrying to you and are not going away after a few days, we urge you to contact your doctor or health care provider.

How often will I need to get the vaccine? One time? Annual?

We don’t know yet. Because the virus is so new, researchers will need time to monitor its response in order to determine how long the vaccine will protect you from the virus.

How do I get on the list to get the vaccine and how will I get it?

You can check with your local health department for more information on when you will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

Can the vaccine be administered in my Long-Term Care (LTC) facility instead of at the pharmacy?

Yes. During Phase 1, the federal government has contracted with Walgreens and CVS to go to each facility and provide vaccines to Long-Term Care staff and residents.

Will members have the choice of getting the vaccine(s) from either a medical provider or pharmacist (when available)?

Continue to check your state's vaccine finder to determine if/when a vaccine is available at your local pharmacy. You can check with your local health department for more information on when you will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

When will members be able to get the vaccine? What is the order of priority?

Recently, the CDC made recommendations for who should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine first. However, each state has its own priority list. You can check with your local health department for more information on when you will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:

Can I move up on the vaccination priority list and get my vaccine today?

Since vaccine priority is related to your age, medical conditions, and work, we recommend that you check with your local health department for more information:

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