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Updated 5/12/23


As of May 12, 2023, the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) period has ended. This ends certain pandemic-related requirements and relief provisions. In most cases, COVID-related services are now covered according to your plan benefits. 

COVID-19 Vaccines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration* (FDA) has approved the use of COVID-19 vaccines for people over the age of 6 months to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Will I have to pay for the vaccine?

As of May 2023, the federal government still has remaining supplies of COVID-19 vaccines, and these are provided at no cost to you while supplies last. 

Beginning May 11, 2023, your plan will cover the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration by in-network providers at no cost to you. Depending on your plan, if you receive the vaccine at an out-of-network provider, you may have to pay associated costs or file a hardcopy claim based on your plan. Please consult your employer or call Customer Service to confirm your coverage.  

I’ve already had COVID-19. Do I still need to get vaccinated?

Health experts recommend the COVID-19 vaccine even for people who have had a COVID-19 infection. Although infection likely provides some immunity to reinfection, we don’t know yet how long natural immunity lasts. So, it’s important to still get vaccinated even if you’ve had COVID-19 to reduce the risk of reinfection — to protect yourself and others around you.

Will a COVID-19 vaccine alter my DNA?

The COVID-19 vaccine will not alter your DNA, and none of the approved vaccines interact with your DNA. The approved Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines; they contain a bit of RNA (ribonucleic acid) that teaches the cells of the body how to make a protein that causes the immune system to make COVID-19 antibodies. The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) is a viral vector vaccine that uses a modified version of a different virus (the vector) to deliver important instructions to our cells that trigger our immune system to begin producing antibodies and activating other immune cells to fight off what it thinks is an infection. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to protect us against future infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Viral vectors cannot cause infection with the virus used as the vaccine vector.

Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

No. You have to be exposed to the novel coronavirus to get COVID-19. The currently authorized vaccines teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

Will the vaccine work for everyone?

The COVID-19 vaccines currently available were proven to be highly effective across diverse races and genders. So, across the U.S., every family and neighborhood can expect the same effectiveness and protection.

Is the vaccine safe?

COVID-19 vaccines have gone through the same rigorous safety assessment as all vaccines before being authorized for use in the U.S. by the FDA. When it comes to safety, you can be assured there have been no shortcuts. The unprecedented speed of the COVID-19 vaccines was due to multiple factors, including past research into these types of vaccines. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Research was already underway to prevent past coronavirus diseases such as SARS and MERS and that experience helped jumpstart work on our current vaccines.

If you have questions about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines or other clinical aspects such as potential side effects, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* (CDC) website or the FDA website.

If I get the vaccine, are there any side effects?

After vaccination, some people may develop a fever, muscle aches, headache or fatigue. These side effects are related to the activation of the immune system. In most persons they last 1-2 days and don’t require treatment.

Are the ingredients safe?

Yes, the currently authorized vaccines were shown to be very safe in large studies. Researchers have studied vaccines for decades and they’ve found that our bodies recognize parts of the virus (not live virus), and then can build a response (antibody) to protect us from the disease. This means the vaccine helps our bodies remember how to fight the virus if we’re infected in the future.

If I am allergic to eggs, should I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The current COVID-19 vaccines do not contain eggs or any animal products. However, those with a history of severe allergic reactions to eggs or any other substance (i.e., anaphylaxis) are encouraged to remain after vaccination for 30 minutes for observation. You should alert the vaccination team when you go for your appointment.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause infertility?

The COVID-19 vaccine, like other vaccines, works by training our bodies to develop antibodies to fight against the virus that causes COVID-19, to prevent future illness. There is currently no evidence that antibodies formed from COVID-19 vaccines cause any problems with pregnancy. In addition, there is no evidence suggesting that fertility problems are a side effect of ANY vaccine. People who are trying to become pregnant now or who plan to try in the future may receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Consult with your fertility or pregnancy care team if you have additional questions.

Why do I need the vaccine if everyone around me is getting it?

Herd immunity and community protection is the ultimate goal, right? Yes, but that’s achieved when a large portion of our entire population has been vaccinated. Current estimates are that at least 85 percent of our population will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Many adults have medical conditions that will prevent them from getting the vaccine even if they want it. So, it’s up to us to keep them protected by doing our part and getting the vaccine for them. 

Do I need to get the booster shots if I have already been vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccine boosters can further enhance or restore protection that might have decreased over time after your primary series vaccination. Everyone ages 5 years and older should get one booster after completing their COVID-19 vaccine primary series, if eligible. Adults ages 50 years and older and some people over the age of 12 who are moderately or severely immunocompromised should get a 2nd booster. Find out more information on the COVID-19 booster shots here

COVID-19 Related Benefits Information for Members

What kind of support does my plan offer?

If you have questions about getting care, using your benefits or managing your health, we are here to help you. You may be contacted to introduce programs that are right for you. To reach us, simply call the customer service number on the back of your member ID card.

Are the coronavirus test and treatment covered under my insurance?

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for the virus, your doctor can order a medically necessary test at no cost to you. The test and the doctor visit will be processed according to your health plan benefits; cost sharing may apply depending on your plan.

After the end of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic tests are not typically covered by health plans. However, your employer may choose to cover these tests through your BCBSF medical benefit, through your pharmacy benefit or both. Please consult your employer or call customer service on the back of your member ID card to confirm your coverage.

Public health and employment return-to-work testing are not considered medically necessary and will not be covered.

COVID-19 treatment will be covered according to your plan benefits. Please contact Customer Service to confirm coverage for your plan.

COVID-19 Basics

Have more questions about the coronavirus? Please see the following list to find out more from the CDC website.

*The FDA and the CDC are independent organizations that offer health information you may find helpful.

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