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VACCINE TEAM: Answering your COVID-19 vaccine questions

Updated: Jan. 19, 2021 at 3:12 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - As COVID-19 vaccines roll out across the state, we are here to answer your questions about the vaccine.

You can submit your question by going to the “Vaccine FAQs” page here.

Q1: Are vaccines free? Are they covered by Medicare/Medicaid?

A: Yes. Currently, COVID-19 vaccines are free for everyone.

According to DHEC’S website: “There will be no out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine. Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers will cover the cost of vaccine administration…It is possible that health care providers may charge an office visit fee, or a fee to administer the vaccine.”

Q2: I am allergic to many things. Should I get the vaccine?

A: Before you get the vaccine, the CDC recommends that you discuss getting the vaccine with your healthcare provider.

In terms of food allergies, the CDC says “Patients with allergies to other medications, foods or inhalants can receive the COVID-19 vaccine with normal precautions. This typically includes a 15-minute observation period after the injection based on CDC guidelines.”

For more serious allergies, “CDC recommends that people with a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications—such as food, pet, venom, environmental, or latex allergies—get vaccinated. People with a history of allergies to oral medications or a family history of severe allergic reactions may also get vaccinated.”

Q3: How long will the vaccine protect me against COVID-19?

A: Right now, there is no one answer to how long the vaccine will protect against COVID-19. Some experts are suggesting a year. Some believe it could be longer. The CDC said on their website that, “We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work...CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.”

Q4: I am over 70 years old, but my caretaker is only 60. Can they be vaccinated with me?

A: Unfortunately, unless your caretaker is a staff member for a long-term care facility or a registered health care worker, you can get vaccinated, but they will have to wait until the appropriate group.

For a person of that age, they would currently fall under phase 1C, which includes all people ages 65 and older. For a full list of eligibility, you can find the list here.

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