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Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Update

On 4/23/21, the  CDC and FDA recommended that use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States. Here is what the CDC thinks you need to know.

COVID-19 Vaccine Coverage

FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are now more widely accessible in the U.S. Everyone 12 years* of age and older is eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination. Under state and federal mandate, vaccines will be provided at no cost to our members.

*The Pfizer vaccine is authorized for use for ages 12 and older. The Moderna and J&J vaccines are authorized for use for ages 18 and older.

Vaccine Lookup and Scheduling Resources
From the CDC
Find COVID-19 Vaccines Near You by Type >

Or, have locations sent right to your phone: Text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish.

From NYS
Find a NYS-run Vaccination Site >

Or, call the NYS Vaccination Hotline, 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829). Those without internet access, or out of state, call 211 or visit your state's DOH website. Many counties and pharmacies are now scheduling appointments. Check their websites or call for more information.

Transportation Assistance

Call your local NY Connects office, or visit 211wny.org and enter the keyword transportation to locate options that may be available to you.   (Some providers may charge for transportation services)

Ask the Experts: COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 vaccines are a hot topic and on the minds of many. Is a vaccine that was created so quickly actually safe? Mona Chitre, PharmD, our Chief Pharmacy Officer, answers questions about the COVID-19 vaccines.

What to Know: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna VaccinesWhat to Know: Johnson & Johnson VaccineNext Topic: COVID-19 Strains and Herd Immunity >
Ask the Experts: Do I Really Need the Vaccine?

Millions of people are now vaccinated. But some are not, and others are even hesitant to get vaccinated. Younger people who fall between the ages of 18 and 34 might wonder, “What’s the point of getting vaccinated? Is it really necessary?”

Do I Really Need the Vaccine?Next Topic: I've Received My Vaccine – Now What? >
Ask the Experts: I've Received My Vaccine – Now What?

If you’re among the millions of people who have already received a COVID-19 vaccine, you may wonder what’s next, and how quickly things can go back to “normal.” We talked to Dr. Lorna Fitzpatrick, Vice President of Medical Affairs, to get the facts.

Recommendations After Receiving the VaccineNext Topic: COVID-19 Strains and Herd Immunity >
Ask the Experts: COVID-19 Strains and Herd Immunity

New variants of the COVID-19 virus have emerged. Are these new strains more contagious? Dr. Lisa Harris, Vice President of Medical Affairs, answers questions about the COVID-19 strains and the importance of vaccines for herd immunity.

COVID-19 Strains and Herd ImmunityNext Topic: Do I Really Need the Vaccine? >
COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ's

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes, reinfection is still possible. We don’t know how long someone is protected after getting COVID-19. Anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.

Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

Below are resources to help you find and schedule a vaccination appointment.

CDC Vaccine Finder
Find locations offering vaccinations, including type of vaccine being offered (pharmacies, state vaccination sites, other providers)

  • Text  your ZIP code to: GETVAX (438829) in English or VACUNA (822862) in Spanish 
  • Follow the link to view more locations (including pharmacies, and /or filter by vaccine type, or visit vaccines.gov

NYS Vaccination Resources

  •  Visit New York State COVID website at am-i-eligible.covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov
  • Call the New York State Vaccination Hotline, 1-833-NYS-4VAX (1-833-697-4829)
  • For those without access to the internet, or out of state, please call 211 or visit your state’s department of health website
  • Many counties and pharmacies are now scheduling appointments (check their websites or call for more information)

Need transportation assistance? 
Call your local NY Connects office or visit 211wny.org for more assistance. (Some providers may charge for transportation services)

Will my health insurance cover the vaccination? Will there be a cost to me?

Vaccines will be provided at no cost to members. The vaccine itself is being paid for by the federal government and health insurers cover the health provider costs for administering the vaccine.

The vaccine administration is covered in full for all members with the possible exception of less than 10 self-funded employer groups that are not required to comply with the CARES Act vaccine requirements.

How do we know that these vaccines are safe when they are so new?

COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same rigorous safety and efficacy standards as all other vaccines – and have been tested thousands of times to ensure safety and use proven science technology:

  • The Pfizer & Moderna vaccines both use mRNA vaccine technology. It has been studied for decades and looks at the genetic makeup of the virus and uses genetic code to teach our body how to trigger an immune response to combat the virus.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses viral vector technology. Vaccines of this type have been well-studied in clinical trials and used to respond to recent Ebola outbreaks. It uses a modified version of a different virus to deliver instructions, which teach our body to trigger an immune response.

What can I do to stay safe until I can get the vaccine?

Remember to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by following the 3 Ws:

  • WASH your hands frequently
  • WEAR a mask or face covering to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • WATCH your distance – keep six feet apart and avoid small and large gatherings 

Please follow guidance where you live or local to where you are traveling for masking and social distancing requirements.

Federal, state and local regulations and local businesses and workplaces may have their own policies you will be asked to follow. Visit CDC.gov for more information.

​​Please visit the CDC website for the most current guidance for fully vaccinated people.

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give you COVID-19?

No. The COVID-19 vaccines being used in the U.S. don't use the live virus that causes COVID-19 and cannot make you sick from the virus. Some people may experience some mild side effects after receiving the vaccine, but this does NOT mean you are sick with COVID-19. These side effects are normal signs that your body is building protection against the virus.

Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 is very serious and can cause severe medical complications that lead to death in some people. The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by getting the vaccine when it is available.

COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same rigorous safety and efficacy standards as all other vaccines – and have been tested thousands of times to ensure safety.

Will I need a prescription for the vaccine?

No. You don't need a prescription, but you do need an appointment and an ID to get vaccinated.

Do all vaccines require a second dose?

Ask at the time of your first shot when and if you need to return for your second shot and how to make the appointment (if needed).

When a second dose is required, the timing between your first and second shot depends on which vaccine you receive, and it’s important you get both shots within the recommended time period. Some vaccines require two shots (e.g. Moderna, Pfizer/BioNTech); others require only one shot (e.g. Johnson & Johnson).

Can I stop taking safety precautions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

While the vaccine is extremely effective in protecting the person who receives it, it may be possible for people who are exposed to COVID-19 to spread it to others, even if they themselves have been vaccinated and are immune.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson/ Janssen vaccine

The CDC indicates that people who are fully vaccinated have more flexibility and can safely participate in a number of activities.

As of May 13, 2021, the CDC updated its mask guidance and currently recommends that fully vaccinated people may resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. Please visit the CDC website for the most current guidance for fully vaccinated people

And, it’s always a good to practice good hygiene, wash your hands often, and stay home if you’re sick.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine protect me from getting sick with COVID?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus, and hopefully will prevent you from getting sick, from developing severe illness, and from having long-term health effects from COVID-19 infection, or death.​

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of severe allergic reactions?

If you have common allergies (e.g., cats/dogs, hay fever, dust or pollen), you should have no difficulties taking the vaccine. If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

How much will the shot hurt? What are the possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?

Side effects are possible with any type of vaccination. Some people may have very mild side effects for a day or two after the vaccine. These symptoms usually go away on their own within a week. This does NOT mean you are sick - it’s a sign that your immune system is being activated to fight the virus. The most common issue is a sore arm which can happen with most vaccines. Side effects can also include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain

What is Univera Healthcare’s role in the vaccination effort?

Health insurers, pharmacies, businesses, and community-based organizations across the country, including Univera Healthcare, are working with the federal, state, and local officials to assist in the national effort to vaccinate millions and protect all Americans from COVID-19.

Univera Healthcare is engaged with our partners, businesses in the community, and federal, state and local government leaders across the areas we serve to:

  1. Provide vaccine education and resources and answer common questions about:
    • COVID-19 vaccine safety and efficacy
    • How to schedule appointments
    • What to expect after getting the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Ways to continue to stay safe (3Ws)
  2. Help those in our communities get vaccinated as quickly and equitably as possible and help remove barriers to vaccinations for seniors in vulnerable communities, such as African American and Hispanic communities
  3. Educate physicians and providers on proper billing for the vaccines and giving providers access to expert information about vaccine efficacy and safety

Univera Healthcare continues to seek ways to reduce the burden on the health care system by encouraging annual flu shots and promoting practices such as proper mask-wearing, hand-washing and social distancing to help improve the health of the communities we serve.

Stay Informed
The best way to stay informed and have access to your coverage is online. Let’s get you set up online today. For help or questions with your insurance plan, call the number on your Member Card for personalized care, or contact us.
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