Search for a vaccine or call our COVID-19 help line at 1-877-770-4610 (TTY 711).*
Gloved Hand Holding a Vaccine

What to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are here. Here’s what you need to know.

COVID-19 vaccines are here and being given to people across the country. Different states and regions have different vaccination plans, and things are changing so quickly that it can be a lot to keep up with. We’re here for you and will provide important updates to help keep you informed, safe, and healthy.

Here’s what we know about the vaccine so far.

What We Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

  • The first 2 vaccines (from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna) require 2 doses. When you get your vaccine, be sure to find out how many doses you need. It’s extremely important that you get both doses of a vaccine that requires 2 doses. You will not be fully protected with only 1 dose of a 2-dose vaccine.
  • A 3rd vaccine (from Johnson & Johnson) is available and only requires a single dose. This vaccine, along with the first two, are all effective in preventing severe disease and death from COVID-19 infection.
  • States and regions are distributing the COVID-19 vaccine differently so as many Americans as possible receive the vaccine. The CDC recommends checking your state's health department website find vaccine locations in your area. From there, you can look for available appointments at vaccine sites. (Health departments websites for all of the states we currently serve are listed below, under When Can I Get the Vaccine?) You may also click to find vaccine availability using an online search tool powered by VaccineFinder.org.

We at Clover strongly encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine as you find an appointment. We know how important the vaccine is to protect your health and safety. Also, once you’re fully vaccinated, you’ll be able to safely socialize indoors with other people who have been fully vaccinated. We want to remind you that it’s still necessary to maintain social distance, wash or sanitize hands often, and wear a mask to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 with people who are not fully vaccinated or outside of your household. Click to see the updated CDC mask guidelines, which call for wearing a more snugly fitting mask and/or more mask layers.

At Clover, our doctors and healthcare professionals who care for you—our members—are also being vaccinated so we can deliver the best possible care to you. Here are some of the reasons why the vaccine is so important.

Why We Recommend Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

  1. The vaccine is safe and is the result of years of scientific breakthroughs. The first two vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have been created based on the latest and greatest scientific advances over the last 5 years. Scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals were able to quickly understand what the virus looks like, how it’s structured, and how it infects us—and these vaccines target the part of the virus that allows it to infect our bodies. Clinical trials and testing of the vaccine began very quickly around the world, and over 30,000 people got the vaccine during testing. The FDA has approved the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was proven to be effective when tested on over 43 thousand patients. A third of the patients were over the age of 60 and 15% were Hispanic/Latinx, 13% were Black/African American, 6% were Asian, and 1% were Native American.
  2. The vaccine works. The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have proven to be 94–95% effective in preventing the COVID-19 disease. We also know that it is effective for older adults, people of color, and people with chronic conditions, because large numbers of those groups participated in the studies. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 85% effective in preventing severe COVID-19 disease and was tested in regions where new virus variants had become more common.
  3. Serious side effects are rare. With millions of vaccine doses received, we are seeing very low rates of allergic reactions, and everyone is observed for 15 minutes after their shot to keep them safe. 
  4. You can start resuming certain activities once you're fully vaccinated. The CDC recently released updated guidelines which say that fully vaccinated individuals may gather indoors with each other, without having to wear a mask.

When Can I Get the Vaccine?

Search for a vaccine or call our COVID-19 vaccine help line at 1-877-770-4610 (TTY 711).* 

The CDC also recommends checking your state’s health department website to search for available appointments at vaccine sites in your area. (See below.) We encourage you to keep trying until you are able to book a vaccine appointment. 

Here is where our members can find vaccine information for their states:

COVID-19 Vaccine Stories

Clover volunteers have shared their personal accounts of getting the vaccine in the videos linked below.

COVID-19 Vaccine Questions and Answers

Even with all of the research and studies, there have been lots of questions about the vaccine. We're answering some of the most commonly asked questions to help you better understand the vaccine.
 

Will I be charged when I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

You can get your COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you at a location that is most convenient for you—don't wait. 

Does the COVID-19 vaccine really work?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are based on the latest science. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is based on the same methods used for flu shots. Very large clinical trials have proven to have high rates of effectiveness with all three vaccines. And while it’s still too early to say that someone who has been vaccinated will not become infected, we can say with confidence that if you are vaccinated you will not develop serious disease. 

Should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine if I have serious underlying conditions?

The COVID-19 vaccine has been tested and has shown to be effective and well-tolerated by patients with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are receiving active treatments that suppress your immune system, such as medications for organ transplants, active cancer treatments or management of autoimmune diseases, then COVID-19 vaccination is still recommended. However, in these cases, the timing of when and how you receive the vaccine should be coordinated with your doctor.

When will I be protected after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine?

Individuals who receive the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are considered to be protected from developing moderate or severe disease 14 days after full immunization. For these vaccines, full immunization is after your second dose. Given the challenges of vaccine access, we believe that a delay in the timing of your second dose will still offer protection, but protection is based on 2 doses. For the single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) the timing of protection is 14 days after your vaccination. 

After you've been fully vaccinated, you will be able to socialize without a mask when you're with other vaccinated people. Also, you and unvaccinated people from one other household will be able to visit indoors without masks. It will still be important to practice caution in public or around groups of people who have not been fully vaccinated. That includes wearing a mask, washing hands often, and watching your distance from others.

If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need the vaccine?

Even if you’ve already had COVID-19 infection, studies so far indicate that the immune response from the vaccine is stronger and longer lasting. The CDC recommends vaccination even for those who have already had COVID-19. You should wait 14 days after COVID-19 infection, but 90 days if you received COVID-19 antibody treatment, prior to being vaccinated. We are still learning how long immune protections from natural infection or a vaccine will last, but so far, it appears that natural infection immunity may only last several months.

Are there side effects from the vaccine?

So far millions of people have gotten the vaccine and the most common side effects are pain and swelling at the injection site. In some cases, people develop flu-like symptoms, which can include fever, but these symptoms pass within a few days. Overall, we are seeing a rate of side effects that’s less than 2%. The most serious side effect of the COVID-19 vaccines have been allergic reactions—although the odds of having an allergic reaction are extremely low—and a 15-minute observation is required after getting the vaccine to be safe.

Is this a hoax? Am I part of an experiment?

All of the evidence supports how effective and safe the vaccine is. Especially for those over age 65 or who have chronic medical conditions, the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. In addition to causing death, there are serious long-term side effects from COVID-19, including heart, brain, and kidney damage—and we are not seeing those same long-term effects as a result of the vaccine. We strongly recommend COVID-19 vaccination for all of our members.

If I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask?

In some situations, yes. After, you've been fully vaccinated, you may be around:

  • Other vaccinated people indoors without masks.
  • Unvaccinated people from one other household without masks.

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing when you are around:
    • unvaccinated people with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease
    • people who have an unvaccinated household member with a higher risk for severe COVID-19 disease
    • unvaccinated people from more than one household
  • Avoid medium and large in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

For more information on the vaccine and the virus, visit our COVID-19 resource center. We’ll continue to send our members important updates from Clover Health. And as always, we’re here to answer any questions you have about your Clover Health coverage. Just give us a call at 1-888-778-1478 (711).*


Updates from Dr. Sophia Chang. Dr. Chang is the Chief Clinical Informatics Officer at Clover Health, a tech company that manages care for its members as a Medicare Advantage plan. She brings clinical perspectives into Clover’s technology platform to improve care delivery and patient outcomes. Dr. Chang continues to practice general internal medicine at San Francisco General Hospital as a UCSF faculty member.

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