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What You Should Know About the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine

Protect your health with a Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are an important step in protecting your health and your loved ones,. Talk to your doctor about the right time to get a vaccine and booster. We are committed to providing helpful vaccine information and resources to support you, including $0 cost-share on COVID-19 vaccinations through the national public health emergency period.

Schedule your vaccine

COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. You can get one at a provider's office, some retail pharmacies, urgent care clinics, drive-thrus and more. 

Vaccine protection and safety

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and help prevent serious illness from COVID-19.

$0 vaccine cost-share

You should not receive a bill for your COVID-19 vaccination through the national public health emergency.

After you get vaccinated

Get the latest on life after you get your vaccine, from how to manage potential side effects to how to access your vaccine record.

Frequently asked questions

The CDC remains the best source for COVID-19 vaccine education. We've put together information below that can help you plan and keep you up-to-date. 

There are multiple sections of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help guide people to the right content:

  1. Protection and safety
  2. Where to get a vaccine
  3. First dose appointment preparation
  4. Getting the second dose
  5. After you get vaccinated
  6. Cost and coverage 
  7. Additional safety information
  8. Vaccine fraud awareness

Protection and safety

The FDA has approved the COVID-19 vaccine for use in preventing serious illness from COVID-19 among people ages 16 and older. Certain COVID-19 vaccines are also FDA emergency-use authorized (EUA), among people six months and older to help prevent serious illness from COVID-19. For people who have certain immunocompromised conditions, the FDA authorized an additional dose of the primary series COVID-19 vaccines to help maximize protection for this population. Details can be found in the chart below.

COVID-19 vaccines

Vaccine manufacturer1

Primary Series2

Additional Primary Dose5

Boosters FDA Inforamtion Statements, Fact Sheets, And Package Inserts
Pfizer-BioNTech

3 doses2, the 2nd dose is given 3-8 weeks after the 1st dose. The 3rd dose is given at least 8 weeks after the 2nd dose.

  • Authorized for 6 months to 4-year-olds

2 doses2, 21 days apart

  • Authorized for 5 to 15-year-olds
  • Approved for age 16 and older
Authorized for moderately or severely immunocompromised people ages 5 years and older who completed their Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine primary series 28 days after receiving their second shot
  • First booster authorized for people ages 5 and older at least 5 months after primary series3
  • Second booster authorized for adults 50 and older and also for certain immunocompromised individuals age 12 and older who received a first booster dose at least 4 months prior
Moderna 2-doses2, 1 month apart
  • Authorized for 6 months to 17-year-olds
  • Approved for age 18 and older

Authorized for moderately to severely immunocompromised people ages 18 years and older who completed their Moderna vaccine primary series 28 days after receiving their second shot

Authorized for booster for people age 18 and older 5 months after primary series3

Johnson & Johnson's Janssen

1 dose2

  • Authorized for age 18 and older 
Currently, CDC does not recommend an additional primary dose if you received a single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine
  • Authorized for booster for age 18 and over 2 months after primary series4
  • However, according to the CDC, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) is preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination. Recipients of an mRNA vaccine primary series ages 18 + who are unable to receive an mRNA booster dose may be offered a Janssen vaccine booster dose following discussion of the benefits and risks.

Footnote

  1. Always follow vaccination instructions from the manufacturer.
  2. Available COVID-19 vaccines have received both emergency use authorization and approval from the FDA.
  3. CDC says people age 50 years and older and people age 18 and older and living in a long term care setting who received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 should get a booster of any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States. People age 18 years and older who received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may get a booster of any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States.People ages 12-17 may get a booster of Pfizer BioNTech. An mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) is preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination.
  4. 4 People age 18 and older who received the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine should get a booster of any of the COVID-19 authorized in the United States.
  5. 5 CDC says receiving an additional primary dose only applies to moderately to severely immunocompromised people who have received an mRNA COVD-19 vaccine primary series (Pfizer BioNTech or Moderna).

Like the flu vaccine, vaccination providers will administer the COVID-19 vaccine based on availability. Vaccination providers may not have all FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines at their location.

Important reminders on the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide:

  • Like other vaccines, COVID-19 vaccines can take several weeks after vaccination completion for full effectiveness.
  • Fully vaccinated people may carry the virus after exposure, even if you are not showing symptoms. Masks used in indoor and public places help prevent exposure.
  • The duration of protection against COVID-19 is currently unknown and being studied.

Because of this, you should follow public health safety guidelines to help protect yourself and others. For the latest information, go to the CDC.
 

The safety of vaccines is a top priority, and millions of people have already been safely vaccinated. All FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious illness, including hospitalization and death, from COVID-19, according to the CDC. They are key to slowing the pandemic. The U.S. vaccine safety system makes sure all vaccines go through an extensive process to confirm levels of safety. The recently FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines went through this process. Even after emergency use authorization, the FDA continues to review clinical data about the vaccines.

Approval is granted once the FDA determines the vaccine to be safe and effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. The FDA goes through a detailed review of clinical data and information, as submitted in the Biologics License Application (BLA)

The CDC website has additional COVID-19 vaccine safety information

As with other vaccines, and according to the CDC, people report some side effects with the FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. The most common side effect is a sore arm. Some other side effects may feel like flu and might even affect members’ ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

If members have side effects that bother them or do not go away, they should report them to their vaccination provider or primary care provider. They should also notify the CDC at 1-800-822-7967, as the CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of the FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Members can also use the CDC’s v-safe mobile app, which will help them monitor side effects and get second dose reminders. 

The FDA has a review process for safety and effectiveness that it completes before granting emergency use authorization (EUA) for the general public. Once the FDA authorizes a vaccine for emergency use, the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) will meet to vote on recommending the vaccine.

When evaluating an EUA, the FDA carefully balances the potential risks and benefits of the products based on the data currently available. During the national public health emergency period, the FDA continues to monitor both the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

As more COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for emergency use by the FDA, ACIP will quickly hold public meetings to review all available data about each vaccine and make recommendations for their use in the United States. Learn more about how CDC is making COVID-19 vaccine recommendations.

The FDA approval determined that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing COVID-19. The FDA goes through a detailed review of clinical data and information, as submitted in the Biologics License Application (BLA). In addition, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC have recommended the FDA-approved vaccine for use among people age 16 and older.

The COVID-19 vaccine with FDA approval is the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, which will be known as Comirnaty. This vaccine was approved for use in preventing COVID-19 among people age 16 and older, and continues to be authorized for emergency use to prevent COVID-19 among people 12 to 15 years old and those with certain immunocompromised conditions, as defined by the CDC.

The current FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are not recommended for people with certain conditions or of different ages. The current vaccines are authorized for use among the following ages:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech is not authorized for people under six months old.
  • Moderna is not authorized for children under six months old.
  • Johnson & Johnson's Janssen is not authorized for people under the age of 18 and it is not authorized for a second dose.

Per the FDA, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after Janssen vaccination. Other COVID-19 vaccines, such as Comirnaty and Spikevax, are available for which this risk has not been seen.

There are other special considerations for when it might not be a good time to get the vaccine:

  • If a person has recently been exposed to COVID-19, see the CDC guidelines for getting the vaccine
  • If a person had monoclonal antibody treatment or received convalescent plasma, the CDC states vaccination should not occur for at least 90 days

Members should talk to their health care provider if they have questions about getting vaccinated for COVID-19. 

According to the CDC, if people have ever had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or an injected medicine, they should ask their doctor if they should get the COVID-19 vaccine. A severe reaction is one that requires treatment at a hospital or with medications like an EpiPen (epinephrine). According to the CDC, the likelihood of severe reaction to the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines is very low.   

The CDC recommends people who have seasonal allergies or allergies to food, pets or oral medications, can still be vaccinated. If members have questions, they should check with their health care provider.

For more information, read the FDA’s patient fact sheets: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. Health care professionals can also look to the FDA’s health care provider fact sheets available for Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen; and the package inserts for Comirnaty and Spikevax.

Disclaimer

Follow vaccination instructions from the manufacturer. The current FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines may not be appropriate for everyone. There are special considerations for people with certain conditions, of different ages, and who have had treatments such as monoclonal antibody therapy and convalescent plasma. If you have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your health care provider or visit the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions

The information is a summary and is subject to change. This page describes general benefits we offer to all members in all states. They also include federal requirements. More benefits may be available in some states and under some plans. We have created rules and practices that may apply to some of our products at this time. The information is a summary and is subject to change. For more information, contact your account representative or call the number on your UnitedHealthcare card.

An FDA advisory committee has voted in favor of the FDA authorizing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for use for children ages 5 - 11.

According to the CDC, the FDA-approved Pfizer-BioNTech Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine and the FDA-authorized Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have the same formulation and may be used interchangeably. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administered for the first two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is the same formulation as the additional third dose and booster dose. While the ingredients are the same for all ages, people ages 12 years and older receive a higher dosage than children ages 6 months through 11 years old.

According to the CDC, the FDA-approved Moderna Spikevax COVID-19 vaccine and the FDA-authorized Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have the same formulation and may be used interchangeably. The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine administered for the first two doses of COVID-19 vaccine is the same formulation as the additional third dose. The Moderna COVID-19 booster dose is one-half the formulation the original series.

COVID-19 vaccination is recommended by the CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for all people age 12 years and older. This includes people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future. Pregnant and recently pregnant people are more likely to get severely ill with COVID-19 compared with non-pregnant people. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect you from severe illness from COVID-19.

If you have questions, a conversation with your health care provider about the COVID-19 vaccine may be helpful

If mammography is scheduled within 6 weeks after your final vaccination shot, consult with your healthcare provider or physician if it should be rescheduled. 

There is no evidence that the vaccine has any effect on male or female fertility. When the vaccine is given during pregnancy, the vaccine allows the mother to create antibodies which then protect both the mother and baby from infection.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to people regardless of whether they’ve already had COVID-19 infection. And members do not need an antibody or diagnostic test before or after they are vaccinated to learn if the vaccine worked. Anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation. Additionally, current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. People with a recent infection may delay vaccination until the end of that 90-day period.

According to the CDC, if you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

If you or your child has a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children, CDC states you may want to consider delaying vaccination until you or your child have recovered from being sick and for 90 days after the date of diagnosis of MIS-A or MIS-C. Learn more about the clinical considerations people with a history of multisystem MIS-C or MIS-A.

According to the CDC, experts are continuing to study the variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. There are multiple variants of the virus that cause COVID-19 in the United States, and these variants seem to spread more easily than other variants. An increase in cases of COVID-19 can lead to more hospitalizations and potentially more deaths.  

FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines help prevent the virus from spreading, which in turn can help decrease the opportunity for virus variants to develop and spread. According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines do help protect against variants, and they continue to be closely investigated with more studies underway.

To help protect your health, follow public health safety practices: wear face masks, physically distance, wash hands regularly and isolate or quarantine when sick. Learn more, visit the CDC website.

The American Academy of Pediatricians and the American Medical Association support face masks as a science-based tool in helping prevent and control COVID-19. Masks help keep your respiratory droplets in, while keeping other people’s droplets out. They are effective in helping slow the spread of COVID-19. 

Make sure your mask works the best it can, according to the CDC:

  • Completely cover your nose and mouth
  • Fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps
  • Have a nose wire to prevent air from leaking out of the top of the mask.

According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines can be administered without regard to timing of other vaccines, including the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine and COVID-19 vaccine can be administered during the same visit. The CDC says that routine flu vaccination is an important preventive care service for children, adolescents and adults (including pregnant people) that should not be delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local public health agencies determine quarantine recommendations. According to the CDC, quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Exposure is defined as 15 minutes or more of being within 6 feet of an individual who tested positive or had symptoms within 2 days of exposure. By not going in public or staying home, quarantine helps prevent disease spread before a person knows if they have it.

The CDC has identified 2 groups of people who do not need to quarantine when exposed:

  • You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (meaning you tested positive using a viral test)

Learn more on the CDC website

According to the CDC, isolation is used to separate people infected with COVID-19 from those who are not infected. People who are in isolation should stay home until it’s safe for them to be around others. At home, anyone sick or infected should separate from others, staying in a specific “sick room” and using a separate bathroom if possible. The length of isolation period depends on several factors. Review the CDC’s recommendations for when isolation can end based on the situation.

According to the CDC, while most people get over COVID-19 within weeks of illness, some people experience post-COVID-19 conditions that continue 4 weeks or more after infection. Several recent studies show that between 27-33% of patients who get COVID-19 and were not hospitalized developed some lasting symptoms, no matter their age, prior health or severity of their infection. While much is still unknown, the CDC reports these “long-haul” conditions can come to life in a variety of ways, ranging from difficulty breathing, fatigue, joint pain or mood changes to even more serious issues like multi-organ damage or autoimmune conditions. FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines play an important role in preventing serious illness from COVID-19. Additional information “long haul” COVID-19 is available on the CDC website.

Where can I get a vaccine?

FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines are widely available at retail pharmacies, doctors’ offices, hospitals and federally qualified health centers. Many large retail pharmacies are accepting walk-in patients, and large vaccination events may no longer be requiring appointments.

Find COVID-19 vaccine resources in your area

According to the CDC, adults of any age with certain underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19. Severe illness from COVID-19 is defined as hospitalization, admission to the ICU, intubation or mechanical ventilation, or death. UnitedHealthcare is committed to helping our members at high risk find vaccination providers and get vaccinated.

UnitedHealthcare may offer support in three ways: 

1) vaccine encouragement via email or telephone, inclusive of our Vaccine Resource Locator to help them find vaccination providers, 

2) notification and clinical support through their care management program, or

 3) notification and scheduling support through our customer service advocates. Through these programs, UnitedHealthcare encourages vaccination, helps the member find vaccination providers through our Vaccine Resource Locator and provides transportation or community resources, as appropriate. Transportation support varies across UnitedHealthcare plans. We encourage members to talk to their health care providers about when to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

UnitedHealthcare has specific programs to help remove vaccination barriers to build vaccine confidence and support equitable access among both members and our communities.

  • To build vaccine confidence, we are taking an insights-driven approach focused on empathy training, delivering the right messages and supporting the right messengers.
  • To support equitable vaccine access, data and analytics help us understand our population health dynamic and help guide our member engagement strategies. This includes focus on the right partners and channels for engagement, as well transportation and scheduling programs to support vaccination among the most vulnerable.
  • UnitedHealthcare is also supporting initiatives focused on helping vaccinate the vulnerable and underserved through our STOP CO”VID-19 program and the health insurance industry’s Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative.
  • Health equity is also at the center of how we do business. Our communications and experiences deliver on digital accessibility, health literacy and multi-lingual communications. Our corporate social responsibility program, Empowering Health, provides grant support to local community organizations to aid in health access among the most vulnerable and under-served populations.
     

UnitedHealthcare recommends members get the first COVID-19 vaccine that becomes available to them and is recommended by a health care professional.

We also recommend the member keep their doctor informed of their vaccination. The member’s UnitedHealthcare digital vaccination record may be one way a member may choose to share their vaccination with their doctor or other health care providers. The UnitedHealthcare digital record is not yet available for all members, as we work with the government and other vaccination providers to help make sure members’ COVID-19 vaccination data is complete.   

Like the flu vaccine, vaccination providers will administer the COVID-19 based on availability. Vaccination providers may not have all FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines at their location. If members have questions, we encourage them to talk to their health care provider.

First dose appointment preparation

Bring your UnitedHealthcare member ID card, and be prepared to show your photo ID, such as a driver’s license, to show proof of identity.

Additional information on preparing for your vaccination appointment can be found on the CDC website

 

For many members, UnitedHealthcare pays a fee to the vaccination provider for the administration of the vaccine. In addition, by providing their health insurance card, the member is helping make sure there is a digital record of their COVID-19 vaccination available through their online UnitedHealthcare member account.

If a member receives additional services during their vaccination appointment or get the vaccination during a regular office visit, they may be responsible for copays, deductibles, coinsurance or out-of-network charges, according to their benefits plan. Your vaccination provider should not charge you for the standard observation, which is the 15-30 minutes after receiving the vaccination.

Here are 3 key points from the CDC for members to keep in mind as they prepare for their vaccination appointment:

  1. Allow extra time. Members’ vaccination providers will likely monitor them after receiving the vaccine. This is in case of a rare allergic reaction. So, members should plan on the vaccination appointment taking some extra time.
  2. Schedule the second dose. Members should plan ahead for their second dose by scheduling their second vaccine appointment if possible. Members can also sign up for free text messaging through the CDC’s VaxText to a get a reminder about their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  3. Vaccine cards should be kept in a safe place. Members should receive a vaccination card during their appointment that says which vaccine they received, the date it was received and where it was received. We suggest they keep it in a safe place.

If you are receiving an additional dose, your vaccination card will be updated to reflect those doses at your next appointment. We encourage members to keep their vaccination card with them.

 

Getting the second dose

People will need to get both doses within 3-4 weeks to get the protection indicated by the manufacturer. They should make sure both of the doses received are from the same manufacturer and that the second dose is as close to the recommended timing as possible. Follow the vaccination instructions from the manufacturer:

We strongly encourage members to schedule both doses at the same time to meet these time frames and get protection from COVID-19. The vaccination provider should assist the member with scheduling the second dose when they receive their first dose and help them know when to get the second dose.

They can also sign up for free text messaging through the CDC’s VaxText to a get a reminder about their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

An additional dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is not yet authorized. There is no recommendation to start another vaccine series. The CDC and FDA are actively working to provide guidance on this.

The CDC and FDA have authorized an extra dose of COVID-19 vaccines for certain immunocompromised people as defined by CDC.

It is recommended for those eligible for the third shot that people get the third shot a minimum of 28 days after their second dose of the two-dose vaccine, ideally getting the same manufacturer as the first 2 shots. People who are immunocompromised, and those who live with them, should continue to wear face masks, physically distance and wash hands regularly when outside of their household.

An additional dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine is not yet authorized. The CDC and FDA are actively working to provide guidance on this.

The CDC recommends getting the next shot in your series as close to the recommended timing as possible. Follow the vaccination instructions from the manufacturer. If a member misses their vaccination appointment or are outside of the timing, they can still get the second dose and they won’t need to start over with a first dose. And even if the second dose is late, the second dose will still help them get protection from COVID-19. They should schedule their next appointment with their vaccination provider as soon as they can.

They should have received a vaccination card at their first appointment with information on the COVID-19 vaccine manufacturer, date of their first vaccination and when their second dose is due. If they cannot find that, their vaccination provider can help them know which vaccine they received.

The member should talk to their health care provider or COVID-19 vaccination provider. They will help the member determine the best next step to completing the COVID-19 vaccination series.

Additional primary dose and boosters

According to the CDC, several groups are authorized to receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster if:

  • It's been at least 5 months since completing the primary series AND you are:
  • Age 12+

If eligible, you can get a booster of:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech*
  • Moderna
  • Janssen (J&J)

*Only Pfizer-BioNTech can be used as a booster in those age 12-17.

If you received the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster if:

  • It's been at least 5 months since completing the primary series AND you are:
  • Age 18+

If eligible, you can get a booster of:

  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTech
  • Janssen (J&J)

If you received the Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, you can get a booster if:

  • It's been at least 2 months since completing the primary series AND you are:
  • Age 18+

If eligible, you can get a booster of:

  • Janssen (J&J)
  • Moderna
  • Pfizer-BioNTec

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. 

CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. However, according to the CDC, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) is preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination. Recipients of an mRNA vaccine primary series ages 18 + who are unable to receive an mRNA booster dose may be offered a Janssen vaccine booster dose following discussion of the benefits and risks.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are widely available across vaccination providers, including retail pharmacies, doctors’ offices and other health systems.

Find vaccine providers for your area .

An additional primary dose is administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems. The additional primary dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their vaccine primary series. A booster shot is administered when a person has completed their vaccine primary series (which is 3 doses of the vaccine if you are immunocompomised) to enhance or restore protection against COVID-19 which may have decreased over time.

Additional Primary Dose

According to the CDC, if you received a Pfizer-BioNTech (ages 12 and older) or Moderna (ages 18 and older) mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have a moderately to severely compromised immune system, you should receive an additional primary dose of the same mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after the second dose.

Currently, CDC does not recommend an additional primary dose if you received a single-dose J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.

Booster Shots

Immunocompromised people 18 years and older who received a J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine primary dose should also receive a single COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at least 2 months after their primary dose.

Moderately to severely immunocompromised people ages 18 years and older who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series, and an additional primary mRNA vaccine may get a booster shot 6 months after completing their vaccine primary series.

If you get a booster shot you have the option to either get the same COVID-19 vaccine product as your primary series, or you can get a different COVID-19 vaccine. You may have a preference for the vaccine type that you originally received, and you may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. However, according to the CDC, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) is preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination. Recipients of an mRNA vaccine primary series ages 18 + who are unable to receive an mRNA booster dose may be offered a Janssen vaccine booster dose following discussion of the benefits and risks. You may consider the benefits and risks of each product and discuss with your healthcare provider which COVID-19 vaccine product is the most appropriate booster for you.

Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose. Some people may have a preference for the vaccine type that they originally received, and others may prefer to get a different booster. CDC’s recommendations now allow for this type of mix and match dosing for booster shots. 

However, according to the CDC, an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) is preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for booster vaccination. Recipients of an mRNA vaccine primary series ages 18 + who are unable to receive an mRNA booster dose may be offered a Janssen vaccine booster dose following discussion of the benefits and risks.

The vaccine used for the additional primary dose should be same as the vaccine used for the primary vaccine series. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.

CDC recommends the additional primary dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be administered at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for immunocompromised people.

To help ensure your safety, the CDC is recommending that you share your proof of vaccination card with your health care provider so they can confirm you meet the appropriate eligibility criteria.

Current guidance is if a member received COVID-19 vaccine/s prior to a hematopoietic cellular transplant (HCT) or CAR T-cell therapy, then a primary series should be repeated at least 3 months after the transplant.

After you get vaccinated

Side effects from vaccines are normal signs that your body is building protection. As with other vaccines and according to the CDC, people have reported some side effects with the FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. The most common side effect is a sore arm. Some other side effects may feel like flu and might even affect your ability to do daily activities. But they should go away in a few days. You can learn more on the CDC website.

If you experience pain or discomfort after your vaccination, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, to help with your symptoms. You can also use a virtual visit to connect with a health care professional to discuss your symptoms.

In the event of an emergency, you should call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

If you have side effects that bother you or do not go away, you should report them to your vaccination provider or primary care provider. You should also notify the CDC at 1-800-822-7967. This is because the CDC and FDA continue to monitor the safety of the FDA-authorized and FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. You can also use the CDC’s v-safe mobile app, which will help you monitor side effects and get second dose reminders. 

According to the CDC, if you got the Janssen vaccine within the last 3 weeks, your risk of developing a blood clot with low platelets is very low. However, you should be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a blood clot with low platelets, which typically occur within 3 weeks of vaccination. Seek medical care urgently if any of these symptoms develop:

  • Severe headache
  • Backache
  • Blurred vision
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Severe pain in your abdomen or stomach
  • Severe pain in your chest
  • Leg swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiny red spots on the skin (petechiae)
  • New or easy bruising or bleeding

If you have other questions, call your primary care provider or other health care professional. You can also use a virtual visit to connect with a health care professional. To access 24/7 on-demand virtual visits through a designated national provider, sign in to your online UnitedHealthcare account. Cost-share for the virtual visit will be according to your benefits plan.

It depends. If you have received only one dose of a two-dose vaccine, you should continue to wear a mask, physically distance and wash your hands regularly to protect yourself from COVID-19.

The CDC guidance changes once a person is fully vaccinated, which means it is 2 weeks after you have received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine or after getting the one-dose Janssen vaccine. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can resume many activities that they did prior to the pandemic, without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Mask-wearing requirements may vary based on state, local or business guidance.

To help protect you and others from COVID-19, including the Delta variant, the CDC and American Medical Association (pdf) recommend fully-vaccinated people follow these guidelines:

  • Wear a mask in public indoor places and crowded outdoor spaces in areas with substantial or high COVID-19 infection rates.
  • Wear a mask and follow other public health safety guidelines if you or someone in your household is unvaccinated, has a weakened immune system or has an underlying medical condition.
  • Wear a mask in all indoor schools, regardless of vaccination status.
  • Wear a mask for 14 days, or until you receive a fully negative test result, when in public indoor settings if you were exposed to someone who might have a COVID-19 infection; the first COVID-19 test should be taken between day 3 and 5 after exposure.

The American Academy of Pediatrics also endorses masks for helping prevent and control COVID-19. They recommend face masks be worn by all children 2 years of age and older. 

Continue to follow any mask-wearing requirements based on state, local or business guidance. Refer to the CDC guidance for complete public health safety guidance.

Learn what you need to know about mask-wearing and choosing safer activities.

No, the CDC and FDA does not recommend you get COVID-19 antibody or diagnostic testing.

If you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and you are in one of the following groups, you do not need to quarantine.

  • You are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines.
  • You had confirmed COVID-19 within the last 90 days (meaning you tested positive using a viral test).
  1. You can self-report your COVID-19 vaccination information to receive a digital vaccine record in your secure account at myuhc.com or medicare.uhc.com.
  2. You can also continue to use your CDC card as proof of vaccination.
  3. You may also check with your vaccination provider to see if they have a digital vaccination record available for you.

UnitedHealthcare also continues to work closely with states and other vaccination providers to help members have access to an accurate and reliable view of your COVID-19 vaccination status through your secure UnitedHealthcare member account (myuhc.com or medicare.uhc.com). Until that reliable member vaccination information is received at UnitedHealthcare, vaccination information will not be available to members.

Your COVID-19 vaccine record can be found within your UnitedHealthcare member account. This record may be helpful for employment, attending events or doing other activities where a COVID-19 vaccination record may be requested. 

If your record isn’t showing up, you may choose to self-report your vaccination through your UnitedHealthcare member account. This record can be printed or shared as you’d like. If we receive updated vaccination data from your vaccination provider, your self-reported data will be replaced by the provider’s information.    

At this time, UnitedHealthcare does not have COVID-19 vaccination record for all members. We continue to work closely with states and vaccination providers to access vaccination information so our members have a reliable digital record.

Your digital record is not intended to replace your official CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. Continue to keep it in a safe place for when you need it.

We encourage you to keep your doctor informed of your vaccination. Your UnitedHealthcare digital vaccination record is one way you may choose to share your vaccination information with your doctor or other health care provider.

Please let us know if your digital record is incorrect by calling the number on your insurance card 

We encourage you to keep your vaccination card in a safe place. You may want to consider taking a picture or scan of your vaccination card as a backup copy. 

Your vaccine record, which may be available through your online myUHC.com/communityplan account, may also be helpful in situations where you may need to show proof of vaccination. If you currently do not have one showing, you can self-report your vaccination, so you have digital proof of vaccination to use and share as you’d like.

To help ensure your safety, the CDC is recommending that you share your proof of vaccination card with your health care provider so they can confirm you meet the appropriate eligibility criteria.

Cost and coverage

  • Medicare plans: You will have $0 cost-share for the vaccine at both in-network and out-of-network providers through the national public health emergency period. Providers should not ask you for payment, up front or after you receive the vaccine.
  • For Medicaid members in UnitedHealthcare Community Plans: You will have $0 cost-share for the vaccine with both in-network and out-of-network providers through the national public health emergency period. State variations and regulations may apply during this time. Please review your state’s site for the latest information. If no state-specific guidance is available, UnitedHealthcare plan guidelines will apply.

For those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised as defined by the CDC, a third COVID-19 vaccination dose is covered at $0 cost-share.

If a COVID-19 vaccine is received during a regular doctor’s visit where you talk about other health needs, you may have a cost-share for the office visit, according to your benefits plan. This means you may be responsible for a copay, coinsurance or deductible. The COVID-19 vaccination will have $0 cost-share for the time periods above.

Additional COVID-19 resources


Stay safe and healthy

It’s important to follow public health guidelines to help you stay healthy, especially if you haven’t yet received the COVID-19 vaccine. Protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by following these simple steps:

  • Wear a face mask
  • Continue to physically distance
  • Avoid crowds
  • Wash your hands

Visit the CDC website for information on life after vaccination

Also, remember to stay on top of your doctor appointments like annual checkups and care for anxiety, depression and loneliness. Most providers also offer telehealth visits to help you get the care you need.

Helpful Resources

Want to learn more? Here are clinical resources from various authorities to help in understanding COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine fraud awareness

Be on alert for fraud. If someone calls, texts, or emails you promising access to the vaccine for a fee, don’t share your personal or financial information.

  • No one should ask you to pay to put your name on a list to get the vaccine
  • No one should ask you to pay to get early access to a vaccine

UnitedHealthcare will only request secure information from you through your password-protected member account.

If you have questions or need information about your benefits

Call the number on your member ID card or sign in to your health account.

1 If you receive additional services during your vaccination appointment, you may be responsible for copays, deductibles, coinsurance or out-of-network charges, according to your benefits plan.

2 Key things to know about COVID-19 vaccines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, Feb.27, 2021.

3 Always follow vaccination instructions from the manufacturer. 

4 The CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Disclaimer

The benefits described on this website describe federal requirements and UnitedHealthcare national policy, additional benefits may be available in some states and under some plans. 

This page describes benefits we offer to all members in all states. They also include federal requirements. More benefits may be available in some states and under some plans. We have created rules and practices that may apply to some of our products at this time. The information is a summary and is subject to change. For more information, contact your account representative  or call the number on your member ID card.