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What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are one of the most important tools we have to end the COVID-19 pandemic, and Alignment Health Plan is committed to keeping you informed.

At Alignment Health Plan, we want to make sure you have the COVID-19 vaccine information you want and need. Distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is being determined at the state and county level. Select your state below for details. You can also visit the frequently asked questions section of this page for more information about the vaccine.

To learn how you can use your plan benefits during the pandemic and for current natural disaster information, visit our COVID-19 State of Emergency page.


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COVID-19 Vaccine Information by State

  • California
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    COVID-19 information

    As of June 15, 2021, the executive orders that established California’s stay-home mandate were terminated. Although this eased mask wearing restrictions for fully vaccinated residents, the CDC is strongly recommending that all individuals, vaccinated or not, wear a mask in indoor public settings as COVID-19 Delta variant cases are on the rise.
     
    On July 26, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a state-wide standard requiring all state workers and workers in health care to show proof of full vaccination or be tested regularly. This requirement was also extended to K-12 teachers and school employees as of Aug. 11. President Joe Biden announced rules on July 29 requiring federal employees and on-site contractors to provide proof of full vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions.
     
    California is providing the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents ages 12 and up. Every Californian can sign up at the state-run My Turn website or call 1-833-4CA-4ALL (1-833-422-4255), 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday to schedule an appointment. If no appointment is available, you can sign up to be notified when an appointment becomes available. Some counties and pharmacies such as CVS, are offering the vaccine without an appointment. To find a location near you that is accepting walk-ins visit https://www.vaccines.gov/.
     
    If you need medical care, please contact your primary care physician to find out which services are currently being offered as specific medical procedures that will be allowed will vary per health system.

  • Nevada
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    COVID-19 information

    On June 1, 2021, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak eased COVID-19 restrictions in the state, lifting restrictions involving capacity limits, large gatherings and more.

    President Joe Biden announced rules on July 29 requiring federal employees and on-site contractors to provide proof of full vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions.

    Nevada is providing the COVID-19 vaccine to residents age 12 and up. While some locations may offer vaccines with no appointment needed, Clark County residents who are eligible for the vaccine may schedule an appointment on the Southern Nevada Health District website. Please note, if you have an appointment and do not meet the criteria, you will be turned away. For a list of locations offering the vaccine with or without an appointment in Clark County, visit the Immunize Nevada website.

    While the governor has eased mask restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals, the CDC is strongly recommending that all individuals, vaccinated or not, wear a mask in indoor public settings as COVID-19 Delta variant cases are on the rise.
     
    If you need medical care, please contact your primary care physician to find out which services are currently being offered as specific medical procedures that will be allowed will vary per health system.

  • North Carolina
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    COVID-19 information

    While North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper eased mask restrictions for fully vaccinated residents, the CDC is strongly recommending that all individuals, vaccinated or not, wear a mask in indoor public settings as the COVID-19 Delta variant cases are on the rise.
     
    President Joe Biden announced rules on July 29 requiring federal employees and on-site contractors to provide proof of full vaccination or face regular testing, mask mandates and travel restrictions.
     
    North Carolina is currently providing vaccinations to all North Carolinians age 12 and up. For information about vaccine distribution and eligibility in your county, visit https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/vaccines and select your county for details.
     
    If you need medical care, please contact your primary care physician to find out which services are currently being offered as specific medical procedures that will be allowed will vary per health system.

  • General COVID-19 resources
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    The best way to protect yourself and others during this outbreak is to slow the spread of the virus by keeping these helpful tips in mind:

    • Get a COVID-19 vaccine - When eligible, getting your COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others from spreading the virus
    • Wear a mask indoors – The CDC is strongly recommending that all individuals, vaccinated or not, should wear a mask in indoor public settings
    • Maintain physical distance - Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and others, especially those who are coughing or sneezing, and avoid crowded areas to decrease exposure to the flu or other viral illnesses
    • Wash your hands frequently - Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to decrease the risk of infection
    • Seek medical care early - If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, stay home and call your health care provider immediately

    Steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19

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    What to know about contact tracing

    For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html


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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

  • How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?
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    COVID-19 vaccines are free of charge to Alignment Health Plan members, including when two doses are required, from any provider enrolled in the federal vaccine distribution program, including at mass vaccination sites, mobile vaccine clinics, retail pharmacies, hospitals, some doctors' offices, and federally qualified health centers. There is no copay - the COVID-19 vaccine is covered 100 percent by Alignment.

  • Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine and who is eligible?
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    COVID-19 vaccines are available at local pharmacies, large hospital systems, mass vaccination sites, mobile vaccine clinics and some PCP offices. You can also check with your doctor to see if he or she is enrolled in the federal vaccine distribution program.

    While the CDC has recommended that eligibility open to those 12 years of age and older, vaccine distribution is still being determined at the state and local level. For more information about vaccine eligibility and distribution in your county, please refer to the resources listed above by state.

  • Can I get my COVID-19 vaccine in a county I don’t live in?
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    COVID-19 vaccine distribution is being determined at the state and county level, and appointment availability will vary by county based on the vaccine doses they receive. Some counties may only vaccinate residents who live in that county and will require proof when receiving the vaccine. For more information on whether a county near you is vaccinating residents outside of their county, please visit the county’s COVID-19 website for more information.

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory?
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    President Joe Biden announced rules on July 29 requiring federal employees and on-site contractors to provide proof of full vaccination or submit to regular testing. Individual states and employers are also putting similar requirements into place. Check your state requirements and with your employer to see if they have any rules that apply to you. We also encourage you to consult with your primary doctor to help determine whether the COVID-19 vaccine is recommended for you.

  • How do I make an appointment to get my COVID-19 vaccine?
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    Appointment availability is based on two things: eligibility that is determined by your local county and the supply of vaccine that your county receives from the state. Most states and some counties have implemented their own notification and scheduling systems. To find out what is being offered in your county, view the details under your state above.

    Alignment can also help members find a vaccination site and/or make an appointment. Members can reach their ACCESS On-Demand Concierge team 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through their online account or by calling 1-833-AHC-ACCESS (1-833-242-2223), TTY 711.

  • What do I need to bring to my vaccine appointment?
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    Depending on the state and county you live in, proof of an appointment and proof of eligibility may be required at your vaccination site. This may include an official identification card, like a driver’s license and/or your Alignment Health Plan member ID. Please confirm any required documents and estimated wait time upon scheduling your appointment.

    Alignment Health Plan members can access their digital member ID card through their online member account - members can activate their account online or through the Alignment Health Plan mobile app, available for download in the Apple or Google app stores. All you need is your member ID number and an email address to activate your account.

  • Will Alignment provide transportation to and from the vaccine site?
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    If you are an Alignment Health Plan member or patient who needs a ride to and from the vaccine site, transportation will be covered and will not be deducted from your transportation benefit. For more information or assistance with transportation, members can contact their ACCESS On-Demand Concierge team 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their online member account or by calling 1-833-242-2223, TTY 711.

  • What can I do if I need additional assistance?
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    Alignment Health Plan members who need additional assistance such as transportation to or from a COVID-19 vaccine site, or have any questions, should contact their ACCESS On-Demand Concierge team 24 hours a day, seven days a week through their online member account or by calling 1-833-242-2223, TTY 711.

What to Expect After Getting Vaccinated

  • Will I be provided with documentation that I have had the vaccine?
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    After receiving your first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, you should receive a vaccination record card or printout that tells you the name of the manufacturer and lot number of the vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it. Keep this card in a safe place with other personal medical records and bring it with you to every vaccination appointment.

  • Will the vaccine protect me from COVID-19 and variants of the coronavirus?
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    COVID-19 vaccines have shown effectiveness in protecting against or at least minimizing the severity of illnesses from the coronavirus and more contagious strains such as the Delta variant.

    It is unknown how long immunity lasts after COVID-19 vaccination, but medical experts are collecting more data on how well the vaccines work in real-world conditions.

  • Do I need a booster shot for my COVID-19 vaccine?
    A New data shows that vaccine protection wanes over time. As such, U.S. health officials on Aug. 18, 2021, advised that individuals who receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine get a booster shot eight months after their second shot. Booster shots are expected to be available on Sept. 20 and will most likely be given first to nursing home residents, health care workers and emergency workers.

    The CDC is also recommending that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive a booster shot. This includes cancer patients, those who have received organ or bone marrow transplants, people who have immune deficiency, and people with advanced or untreated HIV infection. For more information regarding COVID-19 vaccines, visit the CDC’s web page.

    While individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine will likely need booster shots, officials are awaiting more data before making a formal recommendation.
     

Authorized and Approved COVID-19 Vaccines in the United States

  • Which COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized and approved for use in the United States?
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    Since Dec. 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has authorized the use of three COVID-19 vaccines, manufactured by Johnson & Johnson*, Pfizer† and Moderna. In addition, on Aug. 23, 2021, the FDA granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older.

    The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one shot while the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to get the most protection:

    • Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
    • Moderna doses should be given 4 weeks (28 days) apart

    * On April 25, 2021, the FDA and CDC recommended to resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a temporary pause. For more information regarding the agencies’ recommendation, visit the CDC site

    † On May 10, 2021, the FDA authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine among individuals age 12 years and older.
     
  • Will I be able to choose which COVID-19 vaccine I get?
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    Depending on supply, vaccination sites or clinics may offer a choice between a one-shot or two-shot vaccine, but they can only offer the vaccines they have received from the federal government.

    If you receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, your second dose must be the same type and brand of vaccine as the first one. When you get your first dose, you will receive a card that indicates which vaccine you received for the first dose. Please remember that the COVID-19 vaccines currently available require two doses administered three to four weeks apart.

  • How many COVID-19 vaccine doses are needed?
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    The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose.*

    The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two shots to get the most protection. The first shot is a priming dose that starts building protection. A second booster shot a few weeks later is needed to get the most protection the vaccine has to offer. The CDC recommends that people get their second dose of COVID-19 vaccine as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, if it’s not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose may be scheduled up to 6 weeks, or 42 days, after the first dose. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval.
    It typically takes a few weeks after the last dose in a series to become fully protected.

    Note: New data shows that vaccine protection wanes over time. U.S. health officials are recommending a booster shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine eight months after receipt of the second dose.  

    * On April 25, 2021, the FDA and CDC to resume the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a temporary pause. For more information regarding the agencies’ recommendation, visit the CDC site.

  • If multiple doses are needed, how will I know when to get my additional shot(s)?
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    When you get the first shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you will receive information about when and how to make a second appointment. Scheduling protocol will vary by vaccination site, but you should get the second vaccine dose as close to the recommended time as possible – three weeks for Pfizer or four weeks for Moderna.

    The CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a booster at least foud weeks (28 days) after the second dose.

  • Do I have to take the same COVID-19 vaccine brand if two doses are required?
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    Yes. Mixing the two vaccine brands, Pfizer and Moderna, could be dangerous as they are not exactly the same. You must receive the same brand of the first dose as your second dose for the vaccine to work appropriately. When you get your first shot, you are given a card with information that indicates which vaccine you received for the first dose and the date that you received that shot.
     
    If you opt for a booster shot, the third dose of the same vaccine brand should be used. An individual should not receive more than three doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at this time.

     

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety and Effectiveness

  • Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
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    Vaccines save millions of lives each year. When we get vaccinated, we aren’t just protecting ourselves, but also those around us, including our loved ones. Millions of people in the country have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and we know that it is safe and effective. To date, the vaccines are up to 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 with no serious safety concerns noted in the clinical trials. Like all drugs, vaccine safety continues to be monitored after they are in use.

    For general information about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit the CDC's vaccine web page.

  • Why did they lift the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in the U.S.?
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    On April 25, 2021, the CDC and FDA recommend that use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine resume among people 18 years and older in the United States, after a temporary pause announced on April 13, 2021. After reviewing all available data,  the agencies deemed that Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for those recommended to receive it. Women younger than 50 years old, however, should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome, a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets. Out of roughly 8 million doses already administered, there have been 15 reported cases of the clot. For more information regarding the agencies’ recommendation, visit the CDC site.

    If you received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine and experience any of the following symptoms within three weeks after vaccination, please contact your doctor immediately and let him/her know you were recently vaccinated:

    • Severe headache
    • Abdominal pain
    • Leg pain
    • Shortness of breath
  • Are there any side effects from getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
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    Side effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are a normal sign that your body is building protection. Side effects will vary from person to person with the most common being pain and swelling around the injection site, fever, chills, tiredness and headache. You should call your doctor if:

    • The redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
    • Your side effects are worrying and don't go away after a few days

    Seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 if you believe you are having a severe allergic reaction after being given the vaccine.

  • I’ve already had COVID-19, should I get vaccinated?
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    Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you have already had COVID-19. If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine to avoid potential interference of those therapies with the vaccine’s efficacy. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • I have severe allergies, should I get the vaccine?
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    It depends. The CDC recommends that:

    • If you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get that specific vaccine.
    • If you have a severe allergic reaction after getting the first shot, you should not get the second shot.
    • If you have had an immediate allergic reaction – even if it was not severe – to any ingredient in the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either and talk to your provider to see if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be a better alternative for you.
    • If you had an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you should not get the second dose.  
    • People who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) or polysorbate should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
    • If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injections, you should ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • People with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injections (e.g., food allergies, pet allergies, etc.) may still get vaccinated. People may get vaccinated even with a:
      • History of allergies to oral medications
      • Family history of severe allergic reactions
      • Milder allergy to vaccines

For more information about benefits, Alignment Health Plan members can log in to their online member account, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or by calling our ACCESS On-Demand Concierge at 1-833-242-2223, TTY 711. Our phone lines may have longer wait times than usual. For your convenience, you can also send us a secure message via your online member account.