What do I need to know about COVID vaccines?
SSM Health is eager to protect our area communities by getting everyone vaccinated against COVID-19. Starting Monday April 5, several of their regions will be expanding vaccine scheduling. Visit https://www.ssmhealth.com/newsroom/2021/1/getting-a-covid-19-vaccine-in-southern-illinois to find the latest updates on vaccine distribution in your community.
Q: Are the COVID-19 Vaccines free? How much will they cost?
A: Patients will not be charged for the COVID-19 vaccine. The patient’s insurance company will be charged a vaccine administration fee. Insurance companies are required to pay 100% without any cost-share/copay to the patient. For patients without insurance, there is no charge. Please provide your insurance card during registration so that we may bill your insurance.
Q: What can I do to stay healthy until the vaccine is available?
A: It is critical that everyone takes steps to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19. We understand the holidays are an important time for family and friends, but local hospitals are already strained caring for significant numbers of COVID-19 patients. To help prevent the spread and reduce the pressure on hospitals:
• Don’t gather in the presence of those outside your immediate household. If you must, wear a mask and stay at least six feet apart.
• Wear a mask when in public, even in outdoor locations.
• Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing thoroughly and rinsing completely.
• If you have symptoms, stay home.
Q: Is it true that scientists don’t know yet if the vaccines prevent the disease itself or just the symptoms?
A: Phase 3 clinical trial data demonstrated that patients in the treatment arm were 90 percent less likely to develop COVID-19 infection than those in the placebo arm. While no vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing infection, results from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine trials are very encouraging and better than expected.
Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine at https://www.ssmhealth.com/blogs/ssm-health-matters/march-2021/johnson-and-johnson-covid-vaccine-faq.
Q: I have an allergy to shellfish and have had anaphylactic reactions in the past. How do I prevent an anaphylactic reaction? Do I need to take something like prednisone or Benadryl prior to receiving the vaccine?
A: There is no recommendation for prophylactic medications prior to the vaccine. In addition, there is no contraindication to receiving the COVID vaccine in the setting of shellfish or prior anaphylactic reactions except for those with allergies to any of the vaccine components or for those who have a history of an allergic reaction to a previous COVID vaccine. Those who fall into the latter two categories require an evaluation with an allergist/immunologist prior to scheduling their second dose.