COVID-19 Vaccine Information

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted full FDA approval to the following vaccines for the prevention of COVID-19:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech (now known as Comirnaty) for people 16 and older
  • Moderna (now known as Spikevax) for people 18 years and older

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have met 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 Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also available for individuals 18 or older under EUA. All COVID-19 vaccine doses are free for members.

According to the CDC, all FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide substantial protection against COVID-19 hospitalization.

Additional Vaccine Information

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines were developed using science that has been around for decades. COVID 19-vaccines are effective at preventing severe illness from COVID-19 and limiting the spread of the virus that causes it. To learn more about vaccine safety and monitoring, visit

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. 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.

You may visit the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC website for more information.


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 site
  • tiredness
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • chills
  • fever
  • nausea

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).

*While supplies last