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This Is What We Know – The Vaccine Breakdown

Now that vaccine distribution is well underway in the U.S., you may be wondering about what’s available, how to make an appointment and who actually pays for your vaccination. Here’s the breakdown so far.

What’s available?

You’ve probably scrolled through hundreds of pictures of people showing off their proof of vaccination on your Facebook and Instagram timelines. So, you may know that two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved by both the FDA and CDC: Pfizer–BioNTech and Moderna. The Johnson & Johnson product has been approved by the FDA and is in the process of being approved by the CDC, while others are in Phase III trials in the U.S.

Do I have to make an appointment?

Each state makes its own vaccine distribution plan based on recommendations by the CDC. To find your state’s distribution plan and sign-up for a vaccine, follow this link (COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC) and select your state from the drop-down menu. 

Wait, who’s paying for it?

Sometimes free stuff sounds too good to be true. But because we are in the middle of a global pandemic, the federal government has made the vaccine available free-of-charge to people living in the U.S. An administration fee may be billed to your insurance company, Medicaid or Medicare by your vaccination provider. According to the CDC, no one will be denied a vaccine based on the ability to pay this fee, and uninsured patients’ fees will be covered by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. For more information, click here.


Vaccines – approved or in Phase III trial in the U.S.

  • Pfizer
    • mRNA vaccine
    • One of two currently authorized and recommended by the CDC
    • One of three currently authorized for emergency use by the FDA
    • 95% efficacy rate for preventing COVID-19
    • 2 shots, 21 days apart
    • Available in all 50 states
  • Moderna
    • mRNA vaccine
    • One of two currently authorized by the CDC
    • One of three currently authorized for emergency use by the FDA
    • 94.1% efficacy rate for preventing COVID-19
    • 2 shots, one month (28 days) apart
    • Available in all 50 states
  • Johnson & Johnson
    • Adenovirus vector vaccine
    • One of three currently authorized for emergency use by the FDA
    • 67% efficacy for preventing moderate to severe/critical COVID-19 14 days after vaccination
    • 1 shot
    • Available throughout the U.S. by the end of March
  • Oxford–AstraZeneca
    • Adenovirus vector vaccine
    • Approved for use in the UK
    • Phase III trials currently underway in the U.S.
    • 63.09% efficacy for preventing COVID-19
  • Novavax
    • Nanoparticle protein-based vaccine
    • Not currently approved for use in any country
    • Phase III trials currently underway in the U.S.

For the latest information, visit the CDC’s COVID-19 site, the FDA’s COVID-19 site and the WHO’s COVID-19 site.

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