On February 27th, 2021 the FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) of Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen division COVID-19 vaccine in US citizens who are 18 or older. Unlike Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines, the good news for those who hate needles is that J&J’s vaccine only requires one dose.
In February, Pfizer announced that as efficiencies increase, they aim to almost halve the amount of time it takes to produce a batch of COVID-19 vaccine from 110 days to an average 60 days. According to MSN, while the US expects to have enough COVID-19 vaccines for every adult in May or sooner, expectations may collide with the real world realities of ice storms, hurricanes and other delays.
Despite the fact that production and distribution of the COVID -19 vaccines continues to ramp up, millions of people who want to get vaccinated are still scrambling to get in line. According to the Washington Post, although they are at the highest risk of death from the coronavirus, almost half of all seniors have yet to receive their first vaccine shot. To combat this, the White House Task Force has partnered with health insurers. The companies will reach out to seniors in low income areas to help get them vaccinated. This may be more difficult than it seems because states have different criteria on who is first in line for the shot and how to sign up.
The PBS NewsHour recently published some tips for finding a COVID vaccine. Here are some excerpts:
Before you call or go online to schedule an appointment:
Check in with your doctor’s office and pharmacist about your health history and whether or not you’ve had an allergic reaction to a vaccine, or other injectable medication in the past that would contraindicate or delay your getting vaccinated.
Contact your insurer, write down the date time that you called and the name of the insurance company representative that you spoke with. Ask them if there are any out-of-pocket costs, co-payments or fees for care.
Have the following information at hand when you call or go online to schedule your appointment and bring it with you when you get your vaccine:
Get an updated summary and a list of medications and supplements that you take and any contraindications or other reactions.
If you have a pre-existing condition that makes getting a vaccine a priority, ask your doctor if you need a note to verify that you qualify for early vaccination.
Have your insurance information (including a copy of your insurance card) ready. Contact your insurer, write down the date time that you called and the name of the insurance company representative that you spoke with. Ask them if there are any out-of-pocket costs, co-payments or fees for care.
If you are able, help someone else out. We are all in this together. Things will get back to a new normal faster if we come together and help each other.