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What to Know Before Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine

Will I have to pay for the vaccine?

No. The vaccine is being provided free of charge to all individuals by the federal government. If you have insurance, it will be billed at no cost to you. However, you do not need to be insured to receive the vaccine. You will never be asked for a credit card number to make an appointment.

May undocumented immigrants receive the vaccine for free?

Yes. The vaccine itself is free for all individuals in Massachusetts. Health insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) will cover the cost of administering the vaccine. For patients without health insurance, health care providers may request reimbursement from the federal government for the cost of administering vaccine to undocumented immigrants.

Can I still get the vaccine if I don't have an ID card?

Yes. You can get a vaccine even if you do not have insurance, a driver’s license or a Social Security number. For more information, visit How to prepare for your COVID-19 vaccine appointment.

Will getting the vaccine negatively impact a person’s immigration status?

No. The federal government has confirmed that it will not consider COVID-19 treatment (including a vaccine) as part of a determination of whether someone is a “public charge” or as it relates to the public benefit condition for certain individuals seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if the vaccine is paid for by Medicaid or other federal funds.

Is a patient’s vaccination record protected from disclosure?

The Department of Public Health will maintain an electronic record of each patient in Massachusetts who receives the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine database is kept confidential like a patient’s medical record with his or her doctor.

Will I need to be tested for COVID-19 before getting the vaccine?

No, a COVID-19 test is not needed before getting the vaccine.

Should someone who is COVID-19-positive receive the vaccine?

No. People who are known to have COVID-19 should wait to be vaccinated until their isolation period has ended, usually 10 days after symptoms started or, if they didn’t have symptoms, 10 days after their test was positive.

Should people who have had COVID-19 be vaccinated?

Yes, people who have previously had COVID-19 should be vaccinated. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again.

Can people who live in another state or country part time (e.g. students, retirees, people with dual citizenship) get the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts?

Yes. The Massachusetts COVID-19 Vaccination program is intended for individuals who live, work or study in the Commonwealth. You may also get your second dose in Massachusetts if you received the first dose in another state. Please be sure to keep the vaccination card you were given at the time of the first dose.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting sick from COVID-19. All COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have been shown to be very effective. Experts continue to conduct more studies about whether the vaccines also keep people from spreading COVID-19. Wearing masks and social distancing help lower your chance of getting the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.

Will vaccines work against COVID-19 variants?

It is normal for viruses to change as they spread, and for new variants to appear. The CDC is monitoring virus changes in the United States, including changes with the Delta variant. Scientists are working to learn more about how easily each variant spreads, whether they could cause more severe illness, and whether the vaccines we already have will protect people against specific COVID-19 variants. So far, studies suggest that the vaccines provide protection from the known variants. Even when a vaccinated person gets infected with COVID-19, they are very protected against severe disease and death. Learn more at About Variants of the Virus that Causes COVID-19 | CDC.

Does the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine provide as much protection as the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines?

All three approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective against serious illness, hospitalization, and death. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine was also shown to be effective against some COVID-19 variants, with research conducted in countries with these more infectious variants including South Africa and Brazil. An added benefit is that the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine requires only a single shot – so if you are offered it, you are “one and done” and don’t need to make a second appointment.