For information on the coronavirus vaccine and your benefits as a Network Health member, click here.

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Coronavirus Vaccine Information

The Coronavirus Vaccine and Network Health

According to the Wisconsin Immunization Registry, over 60,000* Network Health members have received the coronavirus vaccine. This includes over 75% of our Medicare population. Thank you for doing your part to keep our communities safe and healthy. 

*For vaccines administered from December 1, 2020, through May 13, 2021.

At Network Health, we understand you may have questions and concerns about the coronavirus. Below you will find useful information about the virus as well as tips for staying healthy. You may also visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website to learn more.

The Network Health offices are closed to all guests. We are still available to answer your questions via phone, email and member portal. Information about the coronavirus has been changing rapidly. Follow Network Health on Facebook to see our posts about keeping yourself safe and healthy during this pandemic.

Coronavirus relief and benefits from Network Health

Network Health is working hard to make sure your health needs are met during the coronavirus and COVID-19 pandemic. For information relating to benefits and your plan, click one of the options below.

Where can I get the coronavirus vaccine in Wisconsin?

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is using VaccineFinder to help people more easily find and connect with vaccine providers in their area. 

People without internet access can call the hotline number at 844-684-1064 for this information.

Fraud and the coronavirus vaccine

Fraudsters are using the coronavirus vaccine to get your health insurance information and are using it to submit false claims. They may try to contact you via phone calls, social media platforms and door-to-door visits. If you are contacted by someone asking you to pay an out-of-pocket amount for your vaccine or requesting a deposit or fee to receive your vaccine, do not give that person any information.

No one from your doctor's office or insurance company will request a payment or deposit for you to receive the vaccine. If you feel you may be the victim of fraud, please call our member experience team at the number listed on the back of your member ID card or send an email to paymentintegrity@networkhealth.com

Information about the coronavirus vaccine

In our mission to create healthy and strong Wisconsin communities, we’re doing everything we can to get our members access to immunizations for the new coronavirus and COVID-19 as they become available.

Is there a coronavirus vaccine?

Yes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for emergency use for people age 16 and older. The FDA created a fact sheet with additional information about the safety and recommended use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

Moderna has also been granted emergency use authorization from the FDA for people age 18 and older. The FDA created a fact sheet with additional information specific to the Moderna vaccine.

More companies are expected to apply for this authorization in the upcoming months, which would increase the availability of the vaccine.

When will the vaccine be available?

On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, Governor Tony Evers announced via Twitter that, as of Monday, April 5, 2021, all persons in Wisconsin age 16 and above will be eligible to receive the coronavirus vaccine.

This bypasses the current phased approach.

 

Is the coronavirus vaccine effective?

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-dose Pfizer vaccine indicates 95 percent protection against the coronavirus in people age 16 and older. The two-dose Moderna vaccine provides 94.1 percent protection against the coronavirus in people age 18 and older. The single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 67 percent effective overall and 85 percent effective in preventing severe and critical cases of coronavirus.

This level of protection occurs one to two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine (for the two-dose vaccines) and two weeks after receiving the Jonnson & Johson vaccine.

On April 5, 2021, Pfizer-BioNTech provided data demonstrating that their COVID-19 vaccine remains highly effective six months after the second dose. Volunteers who took part in the initial study will be monitored by the pharmaceutical company for two years in an effort for Pfizer to determine long-term vaccine effectiveness.

Is the coronavirus vaccine safe?

The safety of the coronavirus vaccine is a top priority. This vaccine had to go through the same approval process as any other vaccine. The FDA only authorizes a vaccine when the expected benefits outweigh the risk. You can learn about how the FDA, CDC and other government bodies are working together to ensure the safety of the vaccine.

What is going on with the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine?

On April 23, 2021, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended bringing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine back into play. It now comes with a warning for women, aged 50 and below, noting a potential risk for a rare blood clot with an incidence of 1.9 cases per 1 million people. For more information, visit the CDC website.

What are the common side effects of the vaccine?

You may experience side effects when you receive the coronavirus vaccine. This is normal and can be a sign that the vaccine is working. These are the most common side effects.

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Pain or swelling at the vaccination site

If you have these side effects, drink plenty of fluids and rest. Even if you experience side effects from the first dose, for the two-dose vaccines, it's important to get your second dose, so you can be fully protected from coronavirus.

Contact your personal doctor if redness or tenderness increases after 24 hours or if your side effects are extreme or last longer than a few days. If you feel you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Does the coronavirus vaccine infect me with the coronavirus?

The Pfizer and Moderna coronavirus vaccines are mRNA vaccines, not conventional vaccines. mRNA technology is new in vaccine production but has been studied in cancer treatments for over ten years.

The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is a viral vector vaccine.

Conventional vaccines

Like the annual flu vaccine, conventional vaccines need the virus to be inactivated in a lab first. This can take months to years to develop.

mRNA vaccines 

Unlike conventional vaccines, mRNA vaccines are made in a lab, without having the virus present. The coronavirus mRNA vaccine causes our cells to create a spike protein. This is a harmless protein that is found on the surface of the coronavirus. Once it's in our system, our body realizes it shouldn't be there, so it creates antibodies to fight the virus if we're infected in the future.

Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin has a webpage with more information about the safety and development of the coronavirus vaccine.

Viral vector vaccines

These vaccines use a common cold virus that has been modified (called an adenovirus) to deliver the genetic material for our cells to create the spike protein. The adenovirus has been modified so it will not cause a cold and will not cause coronavirus. 

Once our cells create the spike protein, our body begins to create antibodies to fight the virus if we're infected in the future.

Which coronavirus vaccines have been authorized for emergency use?

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine on Friday, December 11, 2020, for emergency use for people age 16 and older
  • The FDA approved the Moderna vaccine on Friday, December 18, for emergency use for people age 18 and older
  • The FDA approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use in people age 18 and older on Saturday, February 27, 2021
  • Note: More companies are expected to apply in the coming months

How many shots do I need for the coronavirus vaccine?

Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna

The FDA's Pfizer BioNTech fact sheet and Moderna fact sheet are the best sources for information about protection, safety and side effects of each vaccine.

According to the FDA, these vaccines have been shown to prevent the coronavirus when two doses are given three to four weeks apart. It generally takes about two weeks for the body to generate an immune response and full protection is not obtained until the two-dose series is complete. The duration of this protection is still unknown.

Make a plan to ensure you get the second dose when it's most effective. VaxText is a free text messaging service that will email you a weekly reminder to get your second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, if you're overdue for your second dose. Text ENROLL to 833-829-8398 to get signed up.

Johnson & Johnson

The Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine requires one shot. The FDA's fact sheet provides information about the protection, safety and side effects of this vaccine. About two weeks after receiving the single-dose shot, your body will generate an immune response and begin being protected from the coronavirus. The duration of this protection is still unknown.

How much will the coronavirus vaccine cost me?

The vaccine has been purchased and provided free of charge by the United States government. All Network Health members can get the vaccine at $0 out-of-pocket and it doesn't matter where you receive it.

  • Medicare Advantage plan 
    • The administration fee will be billed directly to Medicare through the original fee-for-service Medicare program
    • Make sure you bring your red, white and blue Medicare card, because you'll be required to show it to receive your vaccine
  • Commercial group and health insurance exchange 
    • The administration fee will be billed to Network Health
    • Be prepared to show your Network Health member ID when you go to get the vaccine

If you are charged an administration fee for your vaccine, complete the Member Reimbursement Form and send it in to get reimbursed.

What restrictions are there once I've been fully vaccinated?

On March 8, 2021, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance for individuals who have been fully vaccinated. A page the CDC published on the organization's website highlights these changes. Among them, those who have been fully vaccinated should take note of the following updates.

Once vaccinated and following the recommended amount of post-immunization waiting time, you can engage in the following.

  • You may gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You may gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks as long as nobody in the gathering is at an elevated risk for complications from the coronavirus or COVID-19.
  • If you've been around somebody who has tested positive for the coronavirus, you do not need self-isolate or get tested unless you experience symptoms.

If you're not fully vaccinated, continue to social distance, wear a mask in public, wash your hands frequently and avoid indoor gatherings. 

The CDC updated their post-vaccination guidelines during the first week of April in 2021 to include advice that fully vaccinated individuals can take part in the following items.

  • Fully vaccinated people can resume domestic travel. They do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine afterward.
  • Fully vaccinated people do not need to get tested before leaving the United States. Some countries may still require testing prior to travel. 
  • Fully vaccinated people do not need to self-quarantine following international travel upon arrival in the United States.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure unless you're experiencing symptoms.

Do I need the vaccine if I’ve already had the coronavirus?

Yes, since we don’t know how long someone who has already been infected is protected and how long protection lasts, we believe the recommendation will be to get vaccinated even if you previously had coronavirus.

What is herd immunity?

According to the CDC, herd immunity happens when enough people have protection—either from previous infection or vaccination—that is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease

  • As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves
  • The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease
    • Scientists initially estimated that 70 percent of the population needed to acquire resistance to the coronavirus to prevent further spread—this estimate requires further research

Even after receiving the vaccine, experts have stated that people shouldn’t stop mask-wearing or social distancing until we have reached 70% of the population vaccinated.

What is the coronavirus strain B117?

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of any virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and start infecting people.

  • Multiple variants of the virus that causes the coronavirus have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic
  • Variant B.1.1.7 seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants
    • Currently, there is no evidence that this strain causes more severe illness or increased risk of death
    • For more information on this variant, please check the CDC website

When will the coronavirus vaccine be available for people under age 16?

As of May 10, 2021, Pfizer BioNTech has received emergency use authorization for children age 12 to age 15 to begin receiving the vaccine. Please reach out to your child's personal doctor to schedule a vaccine appointment as soon as you are able to.

Network Health cares

We're working hard to keep our members and our communities up to date on any developments surrounding the administration of vaccines for the coronavirus and COVID-19. If you have any questions for us or suggestions on how we can make this information more clear, please reach out to us today.

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