After a year filled with change and uncertainty, the COVID-19 vaccine is a light at the end of the tunnel for many. In fact, a recent survey showed 66% of respondents will get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them.
Overall, signing up for the vaccine online has been a breeze and the drive-up process is admirably efficient. Yet, for some of our seniors who need the vaccine the most, the process has left them confused and frustrated.
Although my tech-savvy parents were able to schedule their vaccines online, a friend told me his parents still had no idea how or even when they could get vaccinated. Fortunately, a quick Google search of "covid vaccine near me" set him and his parents on the right track. Now they're signed up, but countless more like them aren't. Clearly, our more vulnerable neighbors may need some additional information or assistance.
States Give Out the Vaccines
The vaccine rollout is administered by each state individually, and each one is going about it a little differently. For example, some states are categorizing members of the public to determine when they can sign up for the vaccine. These categories include essential workers, teachers, seniors, first responders, etc.
To find out whether you are eligible for the vaccine in your state, your state's Department of Health is the best source for up-to-date information.
Many states are using so-called "pop-up" clinics to administer the vaccine. In Arizona, the vaccine is being distributed at the Arizona Cardinals stadium. Patients enter the parking lot and drive up to the pop-up clinic, waiting in their cars. When it is your turn, the vaccine is administered from the comfort and safety of your car.
While the location to administer the vaccine will vary based on your location, clinics are working to provide the vaccine as quickly and as safely as possible.
Booster Shot Required
The COVID-19 vaccine is approved with a follow up booster shot as part of the regimen. Depending on which vaccine you receive (there are two versions), the booster shot needs to be administered either three or four weeks after the first shot to ensure the maximum benefit from the vaccine. Once the booster is administered, your vaccine is complete.
To ensure all Americans have access to the vaccine, the federal government purchased the COVID-19 vaccines so that the vaccine itself is free to all U.S. citizens. The doctor or clinic who administers the vaccine may bill your health insurance for the administration of the vaccine.
They're also required to accept the payment from your insurance company with no out-of-pocket costs to you. And for those with no health insurance, providers may bill the federal government to administer the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccine could be just the shot in the arm we need to restart the economy. While many are easily able to sign up and get an appointment, others may need more help. In our enthusiasm to return to normal, let's remember to bring our most vulnerable seniors with us.
Jan Dubauskas is a healthcare expert, enthusiastic insurance pro, attorney and mom serving as Vice President of healthinsurance.com.
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