COVID-19 Vaccine Information
On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the Pfizer-BioNTech (now known as Comirnaty) vaccine has received full FDA approval for the prevention of COVID-19 in people 16 and older by meeting the FDA’s standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality. For individuals 5-15 years old, the Pfizer vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA). The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are also available for individuals 18 or older under EUA. All COVID-19 vaccine doses are free for members.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Pfizer vaccine is roughly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections and requires two shots, 21 days apart.1
Additional Vaccine Information
There is a remote chance that vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. This would likely occur within an hour of receiving the vaccine.
Mild symptoms including muscle pain at the injection site, low-grade fever, and/or headache have been reported over the first few days after vaccination. Long-term side effects from vaccines are rare. Most side effects are expected to occur within the first six weeks of a vaccine. The clinical trials will follow vaccine participants for two years, which will give us more information about long-term side effects in the future.
If you receive a Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccine, you must take two doses. Full immunity (up to 95% effectiveness) will be achieved 14 days after your second dose. If you receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, full immunity (up to 66% effectiveness) will be achieved 14 days after you get the vaccine. We are still learning how well the vaccines prevent the spread of COVID-19 and how long protection from the vaccine lasts. After you are vaccinated, it is important that you continue to wear a mask per CDC guidelines, watch your distance, and wash your hands often until more people become fully vaccinated.
Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine 5–11 Approval
Children ages 5 through 11 are now eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently gave emergency authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children over the age of 5.
The vaccine is free. Check with your child’s doctor or at a local pharmacy to see if they offer the COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 through 11.
Children are just as likely to get infected with COVID-19 as adults. Getting the vaccine will help protect children from getting COVID-19. It will also help protect family members and those who may be at an increased risk of getting COVID-19. The vaccine is safe for children. So, get your children vaccinated as soon as you can.
The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5 through 11 has the same active ingredients as the vaccine given to adults, but they are given an age-appropriate dose of the vaccine. The vaccine is given in two doses, three weeks apart. Your child cannot get COVID-19 from the COVID-19 vaccine.
After your child’s COVID-19 vaccination they may have some minor side effects. These include:
- pain, redness or swelling at the injection sight
- muscle pain
These side effects are normal and mean their body is building protection from COVID-19.
If you have questions about the vaccine, Optima Family Care members should call Member Services at 1-800-881-2166 (TTY: 711) and Optima Health Community Care members should call 1-888-512-3171 (TTY:711).
Optima Health Medicaid members receiving consumer-directed services and their attendants are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.