Vaccine distribution broadens to pharmacies, CDC offers locator tool
Get the vaccine once eligible to protect yourself and your community
Main image source: CDC
People nationwide who are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are increasingly frustrated because they are unable to find a provider who has the shots.
Recognizing this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will begin sending vaccine doses to regional pharmacies this week. The CDC website has a pharmacy locator tool to help you to find a pharmacy with the vaccine near you.
The vaccine is free, and you can go to any pharmacy, regardless of your insurance network. It’s important to get the vaccine once you’re eligible as an important way to protect yourself and your community. Anyone with concerns about underlying health conditions should speak with their doctor.
Johnson & Johnson applied for emergency use authorization for its one-dose COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 4, 2021. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make a decision about release of the vaccine by the end of February.
How to find out when you’re eligible
Each state health department determines the priority populations for vaccine timing based on guidance from the CDC. Your best source of information for vaccine distribution in your area is your state health department. Some states have developed systems where you can enter your contact information and be notified when it’s your turn.
Visit your state’s health department website for the most up-to-date information about vaccine prioritization and distribution in your community.
Which vaccine should you get?
As more vaccines with different efficacy rates enter the market, you might wonder if one is better than another. Medical experts urge you to get whichever vaccine is available to you. While Johnson & Johnson reports a 72% efficacy rate for its vaccine in the U.S. compared with the roughly 95% efficacy rate of the current approved vaccines, evidence also shows the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has an 85% efficacy rate of preventing against severe illness, including death. It’s also important to remember the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were tested in clinical trials before the coronavirus variants emerged. The Johnson & Johnson testing included the variants.
Even if you’ve had COVID-19, medical experts recommend you get vaccinated. It’s unclear how long natural immunity lasts or how strong it is at protecting you from reinfection.
While you wait, it’s a good time to make sure your other immunizations such as flu, pneumonia and shingles are up to date. With most Regence plans, preventive care services like immunizations and screenings are covered with no out-of-pocket costs. Regence members can review their plan coverage by logging in at regence.com or by calling the customer service number on the back of their ID cards.