COVID-19 Vaccine Information

About the Vaccines

Now that the first COVID-19 vaccines are widely available, what’s next? We know getting at least 70% of the population vaccinated is crucial to containing the virus. To protect yourself and your loved ones, it’s important to get vaccinated.

What COVID-19 vaccines are currently available?

Several companies are developing vaccines. However, several are available for use now.

The FDA recently approved the Pfizer vaccine, named Comirnaty, for individuals ages 16 and older. It is also available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for children ages  5-15.

EUA remains in effect for vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

Read more about the vaccines

How much will the vaccine cost?

If you’re a current CareFirst member, you’ll pay $0 for any FDA authorized vaccine.

Were different races and ethnicities included in the vaccine trials?

Yes. For details, see the charts below.

*Percentages add up to more than 100% when study participants self-identify in two categories.

White 57%
Hispanic / Latinx 26%
Black 10%
Asian 4%
Other racial groups 3%
White 63%
Hispanic / Latinx 20%
Black 10%
Asian 4%
Other racial groups <3%
White 17%
Hispanic / Latinx 45%
Black 19%
Asian 3%
American Indian/Alaska Native 10%
Other racial groups <6%

How should I prepare myself and my body for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination is pretty straightforward. Be sure to get a good night’s rest before your appointment and try to show up as hydrated as possible. Before you go, be sure to discuss any medical concerns with your doctor.

It’s currently recommended that you avoid taking over-the-counter pain medicine before you receive your vaccination, like ibuprofen, aspirin and acetaminophen, unless you take these regularly for other reasons. If needed, you may take over-the-counter pain relievers after your shot. It’s also recommended that you avoid taking antihistamines, like Loratadine and Cetirizine. These may help with seasonal or other allergies, but they won’t prevent any vaccine-related allergic reactions. Find out more about preparing for your COVID-19 vaccination from the CDC.

Can you still catch COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

All authorized COVID-19 vaccines are extremely effective, but no vaccine or medical treatment is 100% effective. That’s why a very small number of people, even after getting vaccinated, catch COVID-19. Plus, the vaccination process takes time. You aren’t fully protected until two weeks after your last vaccine dose, so you must remain vigilant in your protection against COVID-19 (wear a mask, wash your hands, practice social distance) while your body is ramping up its immune response.

Another reason you could test positive after vaccination is that COVID-19 has a 2–14-day incubation period. It’s possible that you were infected with COVID-19 before you got your vaccine, but you didn’t experience symptoms until a few days later. Remember, even if the vaccine doesn’t prevent you from catching COVID-19, it will lessen the severity of the infection and significantly reduces the chance of hospitalization.

After I’m fully vaccinated, can I stop wearing a mask?

The answer is not a simple yes or no. On July 27, 2021, the CDC updated its recommendations for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the highly infectious (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States. They suggest:

  • Wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission.
  • Wearing a mask if you are immunocompromised or at increased risk for severe disease from COVID-19, or if you have someone in your household who is similarly vulnerable.
  • All teachers, staff, students and school visitors regardless of vaccination status.

As before, the new guidelines are subject to federal, state, local, tribal or territorial regulations, including individual business and workplace requirements. And remember, you’re only considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your last shot.

Learn more about the CDC guidance.

What should I do if I can’t or don’t want to get vaccinated?

If you can’t get vaccinated, or if you decide against it, it’s important to remain vigilant. To reduce the spread of the disease, and to avoid catching COVID-19, continue to follow existing safety guidance:

  • Wear a mask when you’re around other people who are not vaccinated.
  • Practice social distancing—that’s maintaining at least six feet of distance between you and other non-vaccinated people.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Get a flu shot—flu shots can protect you from other types of serious illness that may require hospitalization. Visit our CareFirst vaccine information page to see where you can get your flu vaccine this season—it’s more important than ever.

Why do the COVID-19 vaccines have to be stored in such cold temperatures?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are what’s known as mRNA vaccines. They contain many enzymes which can easily break the vaccine apart and destroy it in warmer temperatures. The extreme cold slows this process down significantly, which keeps the vaccines stable and “fresh” longer.

Johnson & Johnson is producing a viral vector vaccine, which uses a harmless cold virus to deliver COVID-fighting information to your immune system. Like many other vaccines that use this technology, it can safely be stored with regular refrigeration.

How many COVID-19 vaccines and treatments are currently being developed around the world?

The Milken Institute has developed a site that tracks the development of treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Within the site, you can explore detailed information on each development.

COVID-19 Treatment and Vaccine Tracker This link will open in a new window.

Which vaccines are approved for booster shots?

All three vaccines available in the United States, are now authorized for COVID-19 boosters. Additionally, people can receive a different brand of vaccine as a booster than they did for their primary series or initial dose.

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 booster?

Anyone 18 years and older can get a COVID booster (as of November 19, 2021).

You can get the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster six (6) months after your second dose of Pfizer or Moderna or two (2) months after your single dose of Johnson & Johnson.