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Three Things to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

December 21, 2020

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

1. Empire members will receive the COVID-19 vaccination at no cost.
Empire will cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine. Empire members won’t have out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine during this national public health emergency. This applies to all members, regardless of the type of health plan they have, or which doctor or healthcare professional they choose to visit for COVID-19 vaccination.

2. The FDA has approved the vaccine.
Researchers have studied vaccine reactions and potential side effects throughout the trials. The FDA and outside experts carefully reviewed all of the clinical trial data when weighing approval of the vaccine. The FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers will continuously monitor vaccine safety and quality.

3. Vaccine distribution has begun.
Vaccine supplies will increase over time. The CDC says all adults should have access to the vaccine in 2021. Right now, the CDC recommends that healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and long-term-care facilities be the first Americans to receive the vaccine.

The CDC recommends that frontline essential workers and people who are 75 years old or older be vaccinated next. Other essential workers, people who are 65-74 years old, and people who are 16-64 years old and have high-risk medical conditions would follow.

According to the CDC, frontline essential workers include:

  • First responders (firefighters, police)
  • Education (teachers, support staff, daycare)
  • Food and agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Corrections workers
  • U.S. Postal Service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

The CDC considers other essential workers as those who work in the following fields:

  • Transportation and logistics
  • Food service
  • Shelter and housing (construction)
  • Finance
  • IT and communication
  • Energy
  • Media
  • Legal
  • Public safety (engineers)
  • Water and wastewater

Empire will keep you updated. If you’d like to learn more about the vaccine, visit the CDC’s website.

Empire is committed to supporting you and your health. Stay up to date on the vaccine and its availability through the Sydney Health mobile app or by checking back here on our website.

*Disclaimer: On April 13, 2021, the CDC and FDA recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine after becoming aware of a very small number of reports of a rare and severe type of blood clot happening in people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC's recommendation applies to the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine only. It does not apply to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. No blood clots have been reported for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Please visit the CDC's website for more information about the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your doctor.

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Stay informed by checking these resources for up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially if you’re thinking about traveling.