COVID-19 Vaccine Information

As you may be aware, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc./BioNTech for individuals 16 years of age and older and a vaccine from Moderna for individuals 18 years of age and older. Each company has reported that their vaccines are roughly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. Both vaccines will require two doses, the initial dose and a repeat vaccination three or four weeks later.

Additional Vaccine Information

Both COVID-19 vaccine doses will be free for members.

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.

Immunity (up to 95% effectiveness) will be achieved 6-8 weeks after you receive the first dose, but you must also receive the second dose in order to achieve full immunity. You should still wear a mask after vaccination.

Because initial supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine will be limited, the Virginia Department of Health plans to adopt the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to distribute the vaccine in phases:

  • Phase 1a will include high-risk healthcare personnel and staff (emergency department staff, COVID-19 patient units, EMS), and residents of long term care facilities (nursing homes).
  • Phase 1b will include frontline essential workers, people with medical issues that put them at high-risk for COVID-19, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 1c will include other essential workers. Later phases will include the remaining general population. You can visit to find more details on who is included in each phase and to learn when you will be eligible to receive the vaccine based on your age, location, occupation, and health condition. Visit to learn more about the vaccine.

Optima Health is actively monitoring the situation and will provide more detailed information as it becomes available. You may also visit the Virginia Department of Health and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites for more information.

We are working to remove barriers to care and to provide safe options for all of our members. Additionally, we are working to make care more accessible to our members, and to make sure members have continued access to the prescriptions drugs they need.

Use the links below to learn more about COVID-19 symptoms and prevention, view vaccine updates, and find out how Optima Health will provide coverage for COVID-19-related services.


COVID-19 Vaccine for Medicaid Consumer-Directed Services

Optima Health Medicaid members receiving consumer-directed services and their attendants are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.