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4 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines

July 11, 2022

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the best and safest ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. Learn about the vaccines, including how your Empire plan covers your vaccination and how health authorities are ensuring vaccine safety.


1. Empire members receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.

Empire members have no out-of-pocket costs for the vaccination during this national public health emergency. This applies to all members, regardless of their type of health plan or the doctor or healthcare professional they choose to visit for COVID-19 vaccination.


2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved emergency use authorization of booster doses to be given after completion of the primary series (two doses).

Everyone ages 5 and older can receive at least one booster after completing their COVID-19 vaccine primary series. Some people are also eligible to receive a second booster or an additional dose (sometimes called a third shot).

For more details about boosters and additional shots, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.


3. The FDA has granted full approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and has limited the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine.

The primary series of the Pfizer vaccine is approved for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years and older. The primary series of the vaccine is available under emergency use authorization for children ages 6 months to 15 years old.

The primary series of the Moderna vaccine also has full approval for use among adults ages 18 and older and is available for children ages 6 months to 17 years old under emergency use authorization.

The FDA limited use of the J&J vaccine to only individuals ages 18 and older who either can’t receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or who opt to receive the J&J vaccine because they otherwise wouldn’t get vaccinated. The new restrictions are due to the risk of a rare but serious type of blood clot from receiving the J&J vaccine. No one has reported similar blood clotting events associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Researchers have studied vaccine reactions and potential side effects throughout large clinical trials used to authorize each of the three vaccines. The FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers continue to monitor vaccine safety and quality. At this point, data shows more than 220 million Americans support the use of these vaccines.


4. All individuals in the U.S. ages 6 months and older are eligible for the vaccine.

Visit to find COVID-19 vaccines near you. Learn how to prepare for your vaccination and what precautions to take after vaccination.

If you'd like to learn more about the vaccine, visit the CDC website.

Empire is committed to supporting you and your health. We will keep you updated on the vaccine through the SydneySM Health mobile app and here on our website.

Please visit the CDC website for more information. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your doctor.
Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with CareMarket, Inc., a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of Empire BlueCross BlueShield ©2021-2022.

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