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Coronavirus: Updates on What's Covered & More

Symptoms, Testing and Treatment

  Updated 3/21/22

What is the coronavirus?

COVID-19 is a disease that affects breathing. It's caused by a new virus called a coronavirus, which can spread from person to person. People of all ages can get infected. Older adults and people with pre-existing medical conditions may be more likely to become gravely ill if infected. Medical conditions that include:

  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
  • cancer,
  • obesity,
  • diabetes,
  • and heart disease.

The number of cases continue to increase throughout the nation and around the world.

Protect yourself and your community

We all have a role to play to help protect our families and community from the spread of COVID-19. You can follow these tips to prevent getting the virus:

  • Wear a mask. Follow current state and local masking requirements (PDF).
  • Stay six feet apart from others if they are sick, or if you are unvaccinated or are at a higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands often – at least 20 seconds each time.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

Check CDC COVID-19 Community Level tool for prevention steps based on your county.

What is the COVID-19 vaccine?

A COVID-19 vaccine helps give you the best chance of keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from getting COVID-19 symptoms. And, the vaccine will help keep you from getting COVID-linked health problems in the future.

Pfizer/BioNTech's and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines are given in two doses with a few weeks between each shot. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only a single dose.

After your first Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna shot, you will get a card that reminds you not to forget your second shot. It's important to get both doses of the same Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.

  Updated 3/21/22

When can I get the vaccine?

Every Californian ages 5 and up are now eligible for vaccination. Visit Vaccinate All 58 for more information.

You can sign up at MyTurn or call (833) 422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

  Updated 3/21/22

How can I protect myself and others from COVID-19 until I get vaccinated?

We all have a role to play to help keep our families and neighborhoods safe from the spread of COVID-19. Follow these tips to help prevent yourself and others from getting sick:

  • Wear a mask. Follow current state and local masking requirements (PDF).
  • Stay six feet apart from others if they are sick, or if you are unvaccinated or are at a higher risk of getting very sick with COVID-19.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Wash your hands often – at least 20 seconds each time.
  • If soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Get a flu vaccine.

It is important to urge and help family members, most of all those living in the same household, to get vaccinated.

A vaccinated person may still be able to spread the virus to others. This includes people in the household.

Check CDC COVID-19 Community Level tool for prevention steps based on your county.

Where can I get the vaccine?

Some clinics and pharmacies may take walk-ins for a COVID-19 vaccine. Check these options to find a vaccination site when you are able to get the vaccine:

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Reach out to your county public health department.
  • Visit MyTurn or call (833) 422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Check Vaccines.gov

Is the vaccine safe?

The safety of the COVID-19 vaccine is the main focus! The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) takes care to review all safety data from clinical trials. They then approve emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. Scientists tested COVID-19 vaccines across many diverse backgrounds. This helped to ensure the vaccines meet safety standards.

  Updated 3/21/22

How is COVID-19 vaccine safety tracked?

Health care providers are required to report certain adverse events after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). When you receive your vaccine, you will also receive an information sheet. The sheet lets you know how to enroll in a program called v-safe. V-safe allows you to report problems or adverse reactions you have after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Your report will go to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Plus, the FDA and CDC will keep tracking the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. They want to make sure that even very rare side effects are found as early as can be.

Is there a way I can I track my COVID-19 vaccinations on my phone?

V-safe is a smartphone-based tool. It uses texts and web surveys to provide customized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Visit v-safe to register! Through v-safe, you can quickly tell the CDC if you have any side effects after getting your COVID-19 vaccine. As a result of how you answered, someone from the CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one.

Will there be any side effects when I get the vaccine?

You may have soreness, swelling and redness around the point of where the shot was given. You could also develop fatigue, headache, body aches, chills or fever. Some people have nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. These reactions are normal. The side effects occur as your body begins to build immunity to help fight off future COVID-19 exposures. It is important to know that you cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccines in use today and the others that are being made do not contain a live virus.

Will there be any long-term side effects from the COVID-19 vaccines?

COVID-19 vaccines are being tested in large clinical trials to assess their safety. But it does take time, and more people will need to get a vaccine before we learn about any rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety tracking will continue. The CDC has a separate group of experts that reviews all the safety data. And, they provide regular safety updates. If a safety issue is found, quick action will be taken to see if the issue is linked to the COVID-19 vaccine. Also, steps will be taken to plot the best course of action.

How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?

All three vaccines have been proven to be highly effective in preventing hospital admission and death linked to COVID-19.

  Added 3/21/22

How many COVID-19 vaccine doses do I need, and how far apart should I get them?

It's best for you to get:

  • Two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, 21 days apart, then a booster shot five months later.
  • Two doses of the Moderna vaccine, 28 days apart, then a booster shot five months later.
  • Just one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, then a booster shot two months later.

If two shots are needed at first, get your second shot as close to the suggested interval as you can. If you can't get it at the suggested interval, you can get your second dose up to 6 weeks (42 days) after your first dose. (We only have a small amount of data on how well these vaccines work beyond this window.)

Note: If you get the second dose after 42 days, there is no need to start over.

Children ages 5–11, who get the lower-dose Pfizer vaccine, should also get two shots 21 days apart.

Boosters (or more doses of these vaccines) are available for those 18 and older. Those people, ages 12–17, can get the Pfizer booster. People ages 18 and older can get any booster, however, Moderna and Pfizer are preferred.

The Moderna or Pfizer booster is suggested for those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

If you are immunocompromised (you have a mild to severely impaired immune system) your first vaccination series may not create enough (or any) defense to fight the disease. If this happens, getting one more dose of the vaccine might help you build more resistance to the disease.

Read Booster shots and additional doses to see if you can get one of the booster vaccines.

Only a single booster dose is suggested now. You should not repeat a vaccine series.

Stay up to date on vaccine and boosters.

  Updated 3/21/22

When will I be considered fully vaccinated?

People are believed to be fully vaccinated:

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

Booster doses are not required to be considered fully vaccinated. But, we suggest you get a booster as soon as you are able, in order to get the most protection from COVID-19.

See CDPH's COVID-19 Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People for details.

What should I keep doing once fully vaccinated?

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and at local businesses.
  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still need to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation. This is true when you travel into, within, or out of the United States. You will also need to wear a mask in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19 – even more if you've been around someone who is sick. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
  • Talk to your doctor if you have a health condition. Or, if you or are taking medication that weakens your immune system. You may still need to be cautious to help prevent you from getting COVID-19.

What does the CDC currently know about COVID Vaccines and what are they continuing to learn?

  • We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
    • We're still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
  • We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
    • We're still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
    • Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
  • We're still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
  • As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Until we know more about those questions, everyone — even people who've had their vaccines — should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended.

  Updated 3/21/22

Does the COVID-19 vaccine protect against recent variants?

The vaccines are very effective against COVID-19 variants like Delta. We don't yet know how effective they will be against newer variants, like Omicron.

The best thing you can do to limit virus spread and mutation is to:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Get your booster, if you're eligible

See variants now present in California.

More info about COVID-19 variants from CDPH:

  Updated 3/21/22

Will I have a choice between the various COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. Both My Turn and Vaccines.gov allow you to search for vaccines by maker.

Read CDPH's Choosing the COVID-19 Vaccine That is Right for You (PDF).

When you get your booster shot, you can choose to get a different vaccine brand than you had for your first dose.

  Updated 3/21/22

I already had COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine?

Yes. The CDC suggests that people who have already had COVID-19 should get a vaccine. We do not know how long your protection lasts after you recover.

One study showed that people who have not been vaccinated, and have had COVID-19, are more than twice as likely (as vaccinated people) to get COVID-19 again.

  Added 3/21/22

How soon can I get the vaccine, after I've had COVID-19?

The CDC recommends:

  • If you tested positive, had only mild symptoms, and were not treated, you should:
    • Wait at least 10 days after the start of COVID-19 symptoms, and
    • Meet criteria to stop isolation before getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Wait 90 days to get the vaccine if:
    • You recovered from a COVID-19 infection, and
    • Were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma.

  Updated 3/21/22

Will I test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated?

No. A vaccine will not cause you to test positive on viral tests.

If your body develops an immune response, you may test positive on antibody tests. This shows that you may have protection against the virus.

If I have a food or medication allergy, should I worry about an allergic reaction to the vaccine?

Having an allergy to food or medicines does not mean you are at a higher risk of having an allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine. COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs, preservatives, or latex. Consult your doctor before getting a vaccine if you have severe allergies.

If you have been told to carry an epinephrine auto-injector for any reason, continue to do so – most of all when you get a vaccine. The CDC suggests that all who get a vaccine should be observed for a period of 15 minutes. This 15-minute period goes up to 30 minutes for those with a background of having allergic reactions.

  Updated 3/21/22

Who should not get vaccinated?

There are a few groups should not get the vaccine. And, some others should consult with their doctor.

People who should not get the COVID-19 vaccine include:

  • Those younger than 5 years of age. The current vaccines were not studied or approved for use with children younger than 5 years of age.
  • People who are isolating from others because they were exposed to COVID-19. Or, people who have symptoms of COVID-19. These people can get a vaccine after they have finished isolating from other people, and their symptoms have gone down.

People who may get the COVID-19 vaccine, after weighing the risks and benefits, and talking with their doctor include:

  • People with a background of severe allergy to any vaccine or medication given by a shot. They can get any of the vaccines, but must be watched for 30 minutes after getting the shot.
  • People who are pregnant or breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests that the COVID-19 vaccine should not be withheld from those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • People with weakened immune systems. These people might be at increased risk for severe COVID-19. They may get a COVID-19 vaccine. But, they should be aware that data about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who have weakened immune systems is not yet available.

  Updated 3/21/22

Can those who are pregnant or breastfeeding get the vaccine?

Yes. The CDC strongly suggests that if you're pregnant (or could be pregnant), you get vaccinated. If you get COVID-19 while you are pregnant, you are more likely to get very ill.

The vaccines are safe for you and your baby. They do not contain the live virus, so they cannot cause COVID-19. Vaccinated pregnant people also pass antibodies to their fetus in the womb. Their babies are then born with some protection.

COVID-19 vaccines are also safe for those who breastfeed – as well as their babies. Those who breastfeed and got either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, have antibodies in their breast milk. This could help protect their babies.

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

For more information, read:

  Updated 3/21/22

Can my child get the vaccine?

As of right now, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is suggested for people ages 5 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are suggested for those ages 18 and older.

  Updated 3/21/22

Why does my child need a COVID-19 Vaccine?

Cases in children are growing. We must get young people vaccinated to prevent more hospitalizations and deaths.

Vaccinations may stop the spread of coronavirus variants. They can also shrink the pool of people at risk for COVID-19. When children 5 and up are vaccinated, families can be safer as we all get back to doing the things we love.

  Updated 3/21/22

When should my child be vaccinated?

All kids who are 5 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccine. If your child 5 years and older hasn't gotten their vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it as soon as possible.

What should I expect before, during and after my child's COVID-19 vaccination?

  • Your child will need 2 shots given 3 weeks (21 days) apart to get the most protection.
  • Tell the doctor or nurse about any allergies your child may have.
  • Comfort your child during the appointment.
  • Your child should lie down in their chair when they get the vaccine and for 15 minutes after the vaccine is given. This helps prevent fainting and injuries if they faint.
  • After your child gets the vaccine, you will stay for 15 minutes. This is in case they have a severe allergic reaction and need prompt treatment.

Will my child have side effects after they get the Covid-19 vaccine?

Your child may have some side effects. This is a normal sign that their body is building protection. These side effects may affect your child's ability to do daily activities. The side effects should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. Side effects from the second shot could be stronger than the ones your child had after their first shot.

Common side effects include:

  • Pain, redness or swelling on the arm where your child got the shot.
  • Tired
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

Contact your child's doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where the shot was given gets worse after 24 hours.
  • If the side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days.

  Updated 3/21/22

Are COVID-19 vaccines safe for my child?

Yes. COVID-19 vaccinations provide safe and great protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccines have been under the most in-depth safety tracking in U.S. history.

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now available for everyone ages 5 and older.

Children younger than 5 years of age should not get vaccinated. The current vaccines were not studied or approved for use with children younger than 5 years of age.

When I get the vaccine, can I stop wearing a mask or social distancing?

No. It will take time for your body to build immunity after the vaccine. To prevent yourself from getting sick it's important to:

  • Social distance
  • Wear a mask in public
  • Avoid crowds
  • Wash hands often – at least 20 seconds each time.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine should be given 14 days before or after other vaccines. At this time there is limited information on the safety of getting other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine.

What if I got the first dose and do not want to get the second dose?

The Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna clinical trials were not designed to test the effect of a single dose. People involved in the studies all received two doses. It is best to get two doses to achieve the best result.

What if I missed my second dose?

If you miss your second dose appointment at 21 days (for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine) or 28 days (for Moderna vaccine), it is OK. Those dates are the earliest you can get the second dose. It is important to get your second dose as close to those dates to get the full strength of the vaccine.

The second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose. There is a small amount of data on how well the vaccines work when given after that time.

What is Herd Immunity?

Herd Immunity is a term used to describe when enough people within a large group have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination. The desired result is that the disease spread slows and, in time, stops. Once achieved, everyone within that group is protected, even if some people don't have any protection themselves.

What is a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card?

A COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card is a small and handy paper card that will be given to you when you receive your first COVID-19 vaccine. This will help you keep track of when you received your first Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson dose. And, when you should get your second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. It's an easy way to help you keep track of your vaccines and show that you have been vaccinated, if needed.

I lost my COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. What should I do now?

If the vaccine requires two doses, people should get the same vaccine for both doses in two different visits. Call the health center or provider you received your first dose from to ask about your vaccine information. Be sure to confirm your second appointment and the place to get it.

I am due for my second dose. Can I go to any provider?

The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same place when you received the first dose. But, you can get your second dose from another provider/place. You'll need to show your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card so the provider knows what vaccine you have received.

Many counties and pharmacies no longer need appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with your local health department or pharmacy to learn about walk-in vaccinations.

Do I have to pay for my vaccine? Or get prior approval?

No. The COVID-19 vaccine will be at no cost to you. You do not need to get a prior approval for your vaccine. You may be asked to provide your health insurance information for tracking data.

Many counties and pharmacies no longer need appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with your local health department or pharmacy to learn about walk-in vaccinations.

Do I need a doctor's script or referral prior to getting my COVID-19 vaccine at a pharmacy?

  • No, you can get a COVID-19 vaccination without a doctor's script or referral at any pharmacy. Follow your health plan's guidelines for places to get other non-COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You can get vaccinated at any place. This includes mass vaccination centers, if/when they are open.
  • You can also get your second dose somewhere other than where you got your first dose, if needed. Make sure to bring your vaccination card with you to your second dose appointment.

Many counties and pharmacies no longer need appointments for a COVID-19 vaccine. Please check with your local health department or pharmacy to learn about walk-in vaccinations.

  Added 3/21/22

How much will the COVID-19 vaccine cost?

COVID-19 vaccines cost nothing. The vaccines and their locations are free to the public.

Read more at the Department of Managed Health Care's Know Your Health Care Rights (PDF).

I am due for my second dose. I got my first dose from a provider who is not my PCP but I don't have their contact information. What do I do now?

The provider should have scheduled a second appointment with you at the same place when you received the first dose. But, you can get your second dose from another provider/place. You'll need to show your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card so the provider knows what vaccine you have received.

  Updated 3/21/22

I am planning to travel outside the United States. How can I get the vaccine?

Check these options to find where to get the vaccine:

  • Contact your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Reach out to your county public health department.
  • Visit MyTurn or call call (833) 422-4255 (Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.)
  • Check Vaccines.gov.

Are the COVID-19 vaccines developed using fetal cells?

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not use any fetal cell cultures to make their vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer use synthetic matter to form mRNA. These vaccines DO NOT use any fetal cell cultures. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine required the use of a fetal cell culture singled out in 1985 in order to make the vaccine. The final vaccine DOES NOT contain any fetal cells.

How does the COVID-19 vaccine affect my mammogram?

The vaccines that prevent COVID-19 can cause swollen lymph nodes under the arm where the shot was given. Your lymph nodes are part of your body's germ-fighting immune system. The swelling in the lymph nodes is a sign that your body is building up defense against the virus. Some doctors are concerned that having a mammogram soon after vaccination may cause unneeded worry about swollen lymph nodes. For that reason, some have suggested waiting four to six weeks after your final vaccine dose before having a mammogram. That way, any lymph node swelling caused by the vaccine has time to go away. For patients who plan to schedule screening mammograms and vaccination appointments, think about booking screening exams before your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. If you aren't able to do that, during your visit let your radiologist know when you received the vaccine, and in which arm.

Where may I receive COVID-19 testing/screenings/treatments under my plan coverage?

You can receive covered services when ordered, referred and/or performed in the In-Network places listed below:

  • Physician's/Practitioner's Office
  • Independent Laboratory/Diagnostic Facility
  • Urgent Care Center
  • Emergency Department

Services include:

  • Medically-required COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
  • Medical screenings and/or treatment.
  • Related doctor's visit.

Unsure if you have been exposed to or are at-risk of having COVID-19? Schedule a visit with a telehealth provider. It's a good option for non-urgent care.

What are the symptoms?

Some people can have COVID-19 and be contagious without showing symptoms. People with COVID-19 symptoms have mild to severe breathing problems. Other symptoms include:

  • fever or chills
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • headache
  • new loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • congestion or runny nose
  • nausea or vomiting
  • diarrhea

What else causes similar symptoms?

Influenza (the flu) is another illness that affects breathing. It's caused by flu viruses (Type A and Type B). The flu is highly active in the United States during the winter months. Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.

I may have symptoms. What do I do?

If you have been exposed or begin showing symptoms of COVID-19 or the flu, contact your health care provider or health department right away.

Will I be charged for any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 testing and screening?

No. We will cover medically-required COVID-19 testing and medical screenings at no charge to you. We will do this when these services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider. If relevant, your plan will waive the costs for required COVID-19 diagnostic testing along with the doctor visit. This includes:

  • copayment
  • coinsurance
  • deductible cost-sharing

If I need treatment for COVID-19, is that covered by my plan?

Yes. Any medically-required treatment linked to COVID-19 would be a covered benefit for all Medi-Cal members.

We are committed to making sure you have access to COVID-19 treatment services per federal and state law.

Is prior approval needed for COVID-19 testing, screenings and/or treatment under my plan coverage?

No. We will not require prior approval, prior notice and/or step therapy rules for:

  • Medically-required COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
  • Medical screenings.
  • Treatment when ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider.

Will COVID tests that are received outside of the US be reimbursed as a covered benefit?

We will cover medically-required COVID-19 testing and medical screenings at no charge to members. We will do this when these services are ordered and/or referred by a licensed health care provider.

If relevant, your plan will waive the costs for required COVID-19 testing along with the doctor visit. This includes:

  • Copayment
  • Coinsurance
  • Deductible cost-sharing

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster?

Booster shots are now available for those who got Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

People who are able to get a booster dose are as follows:

  • Pfizer: 12 and older
    At least 5 months after getting the main COVID-19 vaccination series
  • Moderna: 18 and older
    At least 5 months after getting the main COVID-19 vaccination series
  • Johnson & Johnson: 18 and older
    At least 2 months after getting the main COVID-19 vaccination

To book your booster shot, visit My Turn.

Read more about booster shots and booster questions and answers from CDPH.

California has ample supply to ensure all Californians who are able to get the vaccine will have access to the vaccine.

  Updated 3/21/22

If I need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren't working?

No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well. They are helping to prevent severe illness, hospital stays and death. But, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection. This is true mainly among certain groups of people and against mild and moderate disease.

Do I have to pay for the booster shot?

No. COVID-19 vaccines are free to the public.

What's the difference between an additional vaccine dose and a booster dose?

Additional vaccine dose

If you are immunocompromised (you have a mild to severely impaired immune system) your first vaccination series may not create enough (or any) defense to fight the disease. If this happens, getting one more dose of the vaccine might help you build more resistance to the disease.

The added dose appears to help protect some immunocompromised people. Because of this, the CDC suggests that immunocompromised patients think about getting a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna). And, that they do it at least 28 days after they complete the first two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.

This includes people who have:

  • Been getting active cancer treatments for tumors or cancers of the blood.
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last two years. Or, are taking medicine to suppress the immune system.
  • An advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Active treatment with drugs that may suppress your immune response.

If you believe you qualify, talk to your doctor to ensure you are able to get a third dose.

More information on a third COVID-19 vaccine dose

Booster dosage/booster shot

A booster dosage is another dose of a vaccine given to someone who got the vaccine, but whose protection later decreased with time.

CDC COVID-19 vaccine booster shot information

Does getting a third vaccine dose get rid of the need for further safeguards?

No. Not everyone who is immunocompromised has a normal immune system response – even with an extra dosage of mRNA vaccine. Because we are still learning about this, it is very important to take extra care to protect yourself. When you are with friends, family and out in public, you should still follow the current safeguards, such as wearing a mask indoors.

  Added 3/21/22

Can I mix and match COVID-19 vaccines from different makers?

Yes, after you complete your first vaccination series. In the United States, that means:

  • Two shots of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days apart, or
  • Two shots of the Moderna vaccine 28 days apart, or
  • One shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

After this first series, you may choose another vaccine maker for your booster dose. Some people may prefer the vaccine brand they got for their first series, while others may want to try a different booster. The CDC recommendations now allow for this type of mix-and-match dosing for your booster shots.

We strongly advise a Pfizer or Moderna booster for those who got the Johnson & Johnson first vaccine.

Medical and Dental Visits

Which transportation services are offered to help me get my COVID-19 vaccines?

  • Call ModivCare at 1-855-253-6863 to schedule a ride to and from the vaccine appointment.
  • You may be able to get transportation help by contacting United Way-211 to access local transportation resources. This may include the Lyft Vaccine Alliance Program.

Telehealth is a phone or video visit with a doctor, nurse, or other provider.

By using telehealth you can speak with a health care provider at a scheduled time and at a place that is safe and secure for you. (The health care provider may still decide after a telehealth visit that an office visit is needed.)

Health Net Community Solutions, Inc. (Health Net) teamed up with Babylon Health to bring telehealth benefits to Medi-Cal members at no additional cost. Make a video appointment through the Babylon app and speak face-to-face with a health care provider for non-emergency issues. Babylon medical appointments are available 24/7. Behavioral health appointments are available weekdays from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. (Pacific time). This means you can speak to a doctor or therapist when you need to. For more information visit Babylon.

Telehealth is not for emergency care. If you need emergency care call 911 or go straight to the emergency room.

Telehealth services include:

  • Urgent care.
  • Urgent prescription refills.
  • Mental health visits with a behavioral health provider.
  • Women's health.
  • General medicine and pediatrics.
  • Help to manage medications.
  • Medical advice about non-emergency concerns or symptoms you are having.
  • Information and answers to COVID-19 concerns.

Conditions covered include:

  • Cold, flu and fevers.
  • Cough and sore throat.
  • Ear infections.
  • Rash, skin conditions.
  • Pink eye.
  • Sinuses, allergies.
  • Behavioral health (like anxiety and depression).
  • Upset stomach.
  • Allergies.
  • And more!

Babylon is a useful way for Health Net members to get telehealth services. This service is for non-emergency medical and behavioral health issues. You'll receive access to in-network health care providers. Get more information about Babylon and other health plan services.

We will work with our members on a case-by-case basis to ensure they have access to their medications. To prepare for a state of emergency, you should have at least a one-month supply of the prescription medications you need.

Will I be able to refill my prescriptions before the refill date?

Yes, you will be able to refill your prescriptions prior to the refill date.

Many pharmacies now have drive-thru windows. A drive-thru limits coming in contact with other people who are also picking up their medications. You can also wait in your car if there is not a drive-thru option at your pharmacy.

Note: Because of COVID-19, many pharmacies are changing the hours they are open. Contact your pharmacy to confirm their business hours.

You can also use telehealth to obtain prescriptions and refills. You must make an appointment and see a telehealth doctor to get a prescription.

Visit Babylon Health to request prescriptions or refills. Or, call toll-free 1-800-475-6168 (TTY 711) between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., 7 days a week.

If you had a change in income due to COVID-19, unemployment insurance is a resource to keep you afloat while you are looking for a new job. To learn more about unemployment insurance in California or to file a claim, click on the following links:

In March 2020, due to COVID-19, new Federal law expanded unemployment insurance. You may now be able to get unemployment insurance if any of the below is true:

  • Your employer permanently or temporarily laid you off due to COVID-19 measures.
  • Your employer reduced your work hours due to COVID-19 measures.
  • You are self-employed and have lost income due to COVID-19 measures.
  • You’re quarantined and can’t work due to COVID-19.
  • You’re unable to work due to a risk of exposure to COVID-19.
  • You can’t work because you’re caring for a family member due to COVID-19.

Adding to how you can qualify, new federal law also:

  • May increase the weekly benefit amount that states currently provide by $600, until July 31, 2020.
  • Provides an extra 13 weeks of benefits for people who are still unemployed after their state benefit period runs out.

California is providing updates on unemployment insurance changes related to COVID-19.

Resources

COVID-19 has proven how much it can impact your family, even if you aren't sick. If you need help with things like buying food, paying bills, and how to access the internet please visit findhelp, formerly known as Aunt Bertha, to find local resources.

If you are in need of food or housing, we welcome you to use these resources:

Are there strategies for coping with the COVID-19 outbreak?

Worry and stress can rise about the spread of COVID-19. Concern for friends and family who live in places where COVID-19 cases are growing is natural. So is concern about the continued spread of the disease. Try these tips to help you cope:

  • Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate.
  • Connect with others. Share your concerns and how you are feeling with a friend or family member. Maintain healthy relationships and a sense of hope and positive thinking.
  • Share the facts about COVID-19 and the real risk to others. People who have returned from places of ongoing spread for more than 14 days, and do not have symptoms of COVID-19, have a much lower chance of putting others at risk. Wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing help to keep the risk very low.

For more information, see the CDC's suggestions for mental health and coping during COVID-19.

Did you know you can get help paying your broadband internet costs?

The federal Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) is a program that can help pay for your broadband internet costs. It offers a short-term discount that will end later this year.

This discount for your monthly internet bills can help you stay linked to jobs, health care, online classrooms and more. Check this list of participating providers.

All Medi-Cal members qualify to receive the discount (one per household)

The benefits include:

  • Up to $50 per month to help cover internet costs.
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Check this list of internet providers that offer connected devices in California.

Others who may qualify to get the discount

You can also qualify to get the discount if one person in your home meets any one of the following:

  • Have a loss of income from a job lost or furlough any time since February 29, 2020 and a total household income is less than $99,000 (single) or $198,000 (joint) a year.
  • Receive food help through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which used to be known as food stamps.
  • Receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments.
  • Receive Medicaid.
  • Receive Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.

To check the full list to see if you qualify, go to Get Emergency Broadband.

Apply soon while the funds are still available

The program will last until funding runs out. Or, it will last up to six months after the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. (It depends which comes sooner.) If you qualify to get a discount, you should apply online now through Get Emergency Broadband. You can also print out an application form and apply by mail. Send it to:

Emergency Broadband Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, Kentucky 40742

Questions?

Read more information about the EBB program. Find out what you need to do to apply at Get Emergency Broadband.

Last Updated: 03/21/2022