Now that the United States has opened up COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to everyone 16 and older, there is a feeling of optimism, but still some confusion about just how to get a vaccine. High demand, limited supply and scheduling difficulties continue to leave some people with questions.
Journi is here to help you understand and navigate the logistics of getting vaccinated. The Journi Care Team is available to answer your questions and support you in scheduling vaccination appointments. The following guide includes helpful resources to keep you informed.
What are my vaccine options?
As of April, the FDA has authorized three vaccines for emergency use. Here’s a quick overview:
- Pfizer and Moderna became available at the end of 2020 and both require two doses.
- A single dose vaccine by Johnson & Johnson (J&J) became available in early March 2021. This vaccine uses a different medical technology than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
- All three vaccines take two weeks to reach full protection after your final dose.
- The three vaccines are highly effective at reducing symptoms and are all nearly 95% effective in prevention of hospitalizations and death.1,2,3
- Side effects can vary, with the most common being soreness at the injection site and fatigue for 12 to 36 hours. About 10% of people also experience chills and fever for a day or two—but those are good signs that your body is responding and building its immunity to the virus.
- The J&J vaccine carries a warning label about a very rare but serious blood-clot issue. The benefits of the vaccine greatly outweigh the risk; the CDC confirmed 15 cases out of nearly 8 million doses given4.
What about coronavirus variants?
According to the World Health Organization, the current vaccines are expected to provide at least some protection against new coronavirus variants.5,6 However, we can reduce viral transmission and opportunities for mutations by continuing to follow public health measures such as frequent hand washing, mask wearing and physical distancing, and getting vaccinated as soon as we can.7
How much does the COVID vaccine cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine is free for all people in the United States, as required by law. Vaccine administration is covered by Medicare and most health insurance plans. You can reach out to a Journi Care Guide to understand your specific health plan benefits.
Why is it important to get vaccinated for COVID-19?
COVID-19 vaccination can help you, your loved ones and your community stay healthy and safe. Vaccination is an important step in stopping the spread of the coronavirus, its variants, and the development of new variants.
By getting vaccinated, you can also help stimulate the economy, prevent further illnesses and deaths resulting from COVID-19, and help protect the people around you.
Is it safe to resume social activities after I'm vaccinated?
Vaccination is a big part of eliminating the threat of the pandemic, but it doesn’t mean we can get complacent. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can safely gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask, and as of April 27, the CDC says fully vaccinated people can also resume some outdoor activities without wearing a mask. While in mass public spaces or intimate public settings, health experts urge everyone to keep following safety measures such as physical distancing; wearing a mask; avoiding crowds, especially indoors; and practicing good hygiene (handwashing, using hand sanitizer, etc.). Check the CDC guidelines about how to protect yourself and others once fully vaccinated.
How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Start with your state health department or tribal nation website. Some states have developed systems where you can enter your contact information and be notified when vaccines are available. Visit your state’s health department website for the most up-to-date information about vaccine distribution in your community.
You can also check your local pharmacies’ websites to see if vaccination appointments are available. Find out which pharmacies are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
Vaccine Finder is a national tool where users can enter their zip code to search for clinics and pharmacies that offer vaccinations.
If you live in Oregon, try Vaccine Spotter, a tool to help you track down COVID-19 vaccine appointment openings at Oregon pharmacies.
What to do while you wait + ways to stay on top of appointment availability
While you wait to get a COVID-19 vaccine, there are a few things you can do:
- Continue to follow safety precautions from medical experts.
- Sign up for provider newsletters and vaccine availability alert systems in your area. (If you’re a Journi user, you can ask a Care Guide for help with this.)
- While COVID-19 vaccines are top of mind, make sure you and your family members are up to date on other important childhood and adult immunizations.
Access more resources and get future updates about COVID-19 from Journi
We’re keeping an eye on updates from health organizations and will update the blog to keep readers informed about vaccines and COVID-19 developments as more information comes to light.
Connect with Journi about COVID-19 vaccines
Journi Users: You have access to a trusted resource who can help you understand guidelines, answer questions and provide accurate information. Contact a Care Guide for 1:1 support. A Care Guide can help you:
- Find vaccination and testing facilities
- Navigate scheduling a vaccination appointment
- Get information on symptoms and vaccine side effects
- Understand benefits and coverage
Where can I get more information?
You can also refer to the sources below for more detailed information about COVID-19, vaccines and activities in your state:
- Your State's Department of Health website
- Pharmacies Participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program by state (above)
- CDC’s Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
- CDC’s Vaccine Tracker Map and Stats
Sources: 1. Polack F, et al. “Safety and Efficacy of the BNT162b2 mRNA Covid-19 Vaccine.” N Engl J Med. 2020 Dec 31. 2. FDA Briefing Document. Moderna COVI-19 Vaccine. 2020 Dec 17. 3. FDA Briefing Document. Janssen Ad26.COV2.S Vaccine for the Prevention of COVID-19. 2020 Feb 26. 4. CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/safety/JJUpdate.html 5. https://www.who.int/news-room/feature-stories/detail/the-effects-of-virus-variants-on-covid-19-vaccines 6. Rubin, R. COVID-19 Vaccines vs Variants—Determining How Much Immunity Is Enough. JAMA. 2021 Mar 17. 7. New SARS-CoV-2 variants: How can vaccines be adapted? Medical News Today.