COVID-19 vaccine FAQs

In December, the Food and Drug Administration issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. These vaccines are now being administered, and there are several other vaccines that are being evaluated in clinical trials.

On this page, you can find links to information about COVID-19 vaccines, related news, and what EPIC is doing to help our customers through the vaccination process.

Note: The content below is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Will the cost of my vaccination be covered?

Under the CARES Act passed in November 2020, individuals with health coverage can get COVID-19 vaccine shots without any cost sharing. That means you can get immunized at no cost! Recipients of Medicare can get the vaccine at no charge. The CARES Act does not apply to short-term health plans, so if you have this type of plan, your vaccine may not be covered. Check with your health insurer for details.

Is the vaccine safe?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the vaccine is generally safe. Although there are exceptions, especially for those with certain allergies, the vaccines have undergone rigorous safety testing. Check with your physician to see if the vaccine is safe for you.

The CDC has more information about the vaccination approval process and ongoing safety monitoring. The CDC also has more about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines on its Vaccinate with Confidence page.

When can I get the vaccine?

The CDC is providing priority recommendations for administering the vaccine, including to those who are at increased risk.

  • Phase 1a: Health care personnel and residents of long-term care facilities
  • Phase 1b: Essential front-line workers and people who are 75 or older
  • Phase 1c: Other essential workers; people who are 65-74; people who are 16-64 with underlying medical conditions

As vaccine availability increases, recommendations will expand to include more groups. Your local health officials and providers will give updates about eligibility.

Do I get to choose which vaccine I get?

Probably not, although it could depend on your location and the availability of the vaccines.

How long does it take for the vaccine to work?

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two immunizations that are a few weeks apart. The CDC recommends you schedule both rounds at the same time.

Vaccines can take up to several weeks after the second dose to provide protection, so be sure to take precautions after getting immunized. The duration of the protection is unknown.

Does the vaccine have side effects?

There can be, but most are mild. The most common are fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, and pain and swelling in the arm where you received the shot. A COVID-19 vaccination cannot give you the coronavirus.

What else can I do to stay safe?

The CDC recommends that you continue to follow its recommended guidelines:

  • Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth when around others
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others
  • Avoid crowds
  • Wash your hands frequently

How do I protect myself from coronavirus-related scams?

Unfortunately, scammers have been trying to exploit people during the pandemic. The Medicare website has more information about vaccine-related scams, and the Federal Trade Commission has information about how to protect yourself from other COVID-19 scams.

Get more information

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination

Wisconsin Department of Health Services: COVID-19 Vaccine: What You Need to Know