Updated: May 18, 2022.
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available to anyone 12 years and older. There is enough of the vaccine that everyone should be able to get one—and we encourage you to do so.
We will continue to update this page with information about the COVID-19 vaccine, testing and care. In the meantime, please contact your doctor with any specific questions regarding your health.
Q: How can I get an at-home COVID-19 test?
Medicare is currently covering up to eight at-home COVID-19 tests per calendar month. These tests are free to you as a Medicare member. These are in addition to the two sets of four free at-home COVID tests offered at COVIDTests.gov.
Here’s where you can get a test:
- You can pick up your free at-home COVID-19 tests at your pharmacy or doctor’s office. Please visit this site to see a partial list of pharmacies offering the tests or contact your pharmacy to find out if they have the Medicare-covered at-home COVID-19 tests. Be sure to bring your red, white and blue Medicare card when you pick up your tests.
- You may now order up to three sets of eight free at-home COVID-19 tests per household from the website: COVIDTests.gov. These tests are available to everyone.
- If your SCAN plan includes the over-the-counter (OTC) benefit, at-home COVID tests are included in the catalog so you can use your OTC allowance to order the test. Note: If you buy an at-home COVID-19 test using your OTC allowance, you will not be reimbursed for the cost.
- If you have Medi-Cal coverage, you also have access to all types of FDA-authorized COVID-19 tests at no cost to you. This includes at-home COVID-19 tests.
Q: Can I get tested (and treated) at a federal Test to Treat site?
Q: What is the cost to visit a Test to Treat site?
Q: How can I find a Test to Treat location?
- Use this site to find Test to Treat locations in your area.
- You can also call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help finding a location. Help is available in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages, 5:00 am to 9:00 pm PT, 7 days a week.
- The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to specifically help people with disabilities access services. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday-Friday from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm PT or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.
- You can also be tested and get a prescription for an oral COVID-19 treatment from your doctor.
Q: Can I bring a positive at-home COVID-19 test to a Test to Treat site to receive treatment?
Q: Are COVID-19 tests a Medicare Advantage covered benefit?
Q: Am I covered for the cost of a COVID-19 test if I have Covid symptoms?
If you have Covid-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, call your doctor to see if you should be tested. Check your symptoms (such as fever, coughing, fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle pain) here.
Tests have $0 copay when they’re ordered by your doctor or other healthcare provider. This includes:
- Standard PCR tests sent to a lab
- Rapid, point of care antigen tests (where results are available within a few minutes)
Q: Am I covered for the cost of a COVID-19 test requested by my employer or for other reasons?
Q: Where can I get a COVID-19 test near me?
Find a location here.
Please avoid going to an emergency room (ER) for testing; the ER is for severe illness and injury.
Q: If I get tested before an event and get a negative test result, does that mean I’m safe to be around others?
Not necessarily. Your test results are only accurate from the moment you were tested, it’s possible you could have been exposed to or developed the virus.
The current CDC guidelines recommend testing if you are experiencing symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Keep in mind, the cost of the test may not be covered if you don’t have a doctor’s order or don’t meet CDC guidelines (symptoms or recent exposure to someone with COVID).
Q: What do I do if I get a positive test result?
The first thing to do is to stay away from others to keep from making them sick, too. Monitor your symptoms and take your temperature regularly.
If you have a positive test and are experiencing symptoms, let your doctor know so he or she can help direct your care.
If you are not experiencing symptoms, get retested every 10 to 14 days, or as often as your doctor recommends, to determine when you are COVID-free and it’s safe to be around others again.
Q: How do I know if I should use one of these treatments?
Tell your doctor if you’re taking any drugs or have other illnesses (such as liver or kidney disease or other serious illnesses) to make sure there are no concerns that would keep you from using these medications. Also tell your doctor about your allergies and any vitamins, herbal supplements, and over-the-counter drugs you are taking.
Q: Are these available without a prescription?
Q: Where can I get one of these medications?
We encourage you to have a caregiver pick up your prescription at the pharmacy to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
Q: What are side effects of the oral COVID-19 treatment?
Q: Will SCAN cover the cost of the oral COVID-19 pills?
Q: I’m over 65, can I get a booster shot?
Yes. the CDC recommends a booster shot for people 65 and older. You can get a booster of any of the COVID-19 vaccines currently being given in the U.S. You can even mix and match, meaning your booster shot does not need to be the same brand as your original vaccine(s). The one thing to pay attention to is timing of the booster shot.
- If you originally received the 2-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine: You can get a booster at least 5 months after your second shot
- If you originally received the 1-dose Johnson&Johnson: You can get a booster 2 months after your initial shot. Note: The Janssen vaccine is now only recommended if the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines are not available. If you need a booster shot, you should receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
(If you are immunocompromised, the recommendations are slightly different. Please see the question below.)
When you go to get your booster shot be sure to bring your COVID-19 Vaccination card so that you can have the information about your booster added to it.
Q: When will I be eligible for my second booster shot?
Note: If your original and first booster shots were both the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC recommends you get a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna at least 4 months after your Johnson & Johnson booster dose.
Q: I think I may be immunocompromised; can I receive a third or even fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Talk to your doctor about whether getting a third dose or fourth dose is right for you. If it is and you’re immunocompromised.
• You can get a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna if it has been 28 days after your second dose
• The CDC recommends a fourth dose at least three months after you received your third dose
If you received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine:
• The CDC recommends you get a booster dose of either Pfizer or Moderna at least two months after your J&J shot
• Then get a third dose of either Pfizer or Moderna at least three months after you receive your second dose
(If you’re not immunocompromised, see the booster shot question above.)
Q: What is a digital vaccine record?
Your state keeps a digital record of the vaccines you’ve received, and they have made the information available to you online. To find out how to view or print your state’s digital vaccine record, go here. You will need to be able to enter your name, birthdate and email address or phone number associated with your vaccine records.
Information on the digital record is from your state’s immunization registry and is the same as what is on the paper cards issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can use the digital record or printout at businesses or events that require proof you received the shots.
Q: Where can I get the vaccine?
You can get the COVID-19 vaccine at the location most convenient for you. This may be your pharmacy, doctor’s office or a location sponsored by your local public health department. Everyone 12 years and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Check the website of the pharmacy you use to see if they have appointments available. Your medical group may also reach out to you to schedule an appointment.
If you are a veteran, your local Veterans Administration may also be offering the COVID vaccine. Spouses and caregivers can also get the vaccine through the VA.
Q: Will SCAN cover the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, SCAN covers the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost to you. You will not have to pay for the vaccine itself or any fees (such as an administration fee) for receiving the vaccine. This applies whether you are getting the vaccine for the first time or are getting a booster.
Q: Can I use my SCAN transportation benefit to get to my vaccine appointment?
Yes, as long as you have rides left in your benefit, you can use SCAN transportation for a ride to and/or from your vaccine appointment. Remember, these are only for rides so the driver cannot wait for you or accompany you. If you will need assistance at your appointment, it’s best to have a family member, friend or neighbor take you instead.
Q: What information do I need to bring to my COVID-19 vaccine appointment?
If you book your appointment online, the site should tell you what information to bring. If not, we recommend you bring some form of photo ID (like a driver’s license) and your Original Medicare card (the card is red, white and blue).
If you do not have your Medicare card, you can find your number online once you create an account on the Medicare website: my medicare.gov. Please note: SCAN is not allowed to give your Medicare number out over the phone to you or to the pharmacy or other location that may be asking for it.
Also, it might be helpful for you to know:
- The vaccine will be given to you free of charge. You do not need to pay anything to get a vaccine. This includes any fees (like an administration fee) for receiving the vaccine.
- You’ll need to wear a face mask to your appointment.
- The vaccine will be given in your upper arm, so a short-sleeve shirt will work best.
- You will be monitored for 15 to 30 minutes after your vaccination for side effects.
- If a second dose is needed, make the appointment before leaving the site if possible.
Q: How many doses of the vaccine will I need?
This depends on the vaccine you first receive. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require two doses. The two doses must be of the same vaccine and from the same manufacturer, so it's best to get your second dose from the same place you receive your first dose. The recommended timeframe for the second dose of Pfizer is 21 days after the first shot; for the Moderna vaccine it’s 28 days later.
It is now recommended to get a booster shot as well. For Pfizer and Moderna it is suggested that you get your booster five months after your second dose. And while most people will get the same vaccine as before, the CDC has said that you can choose to get either Pfizer or Moderna for your booster.
The Janssen vaccine (also called the Johnson & Johnson vaccine) is a single-dose vaccine for the initial vaccine. However, the CDC does recommend getting a booster shot after two months with a single dose of either Pfizer or Moderna. Note: The Janssen vaccine is now only recommended if you don’t have access to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or otherwise would not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you need an initial shot or booster shot, you should receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if available.
Q: What if I cannot receive my 2nd dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine on time?
If you are not able to receive your second dose on time (Pfizer vaccine at 21 days after your first dose, Moderna vaccine at 28 days after the first), you may receive your second dose up to 6 weeks (42) days after your first dose. Beyond that, try to schedule your 2nd dose as soon as possible. You do not need to start over.
Q: Will I get a reminder when my second dose is due?
Yes, when you get your first dose, you should be given a COVID-19 vaccination record card noting when your second dose is due (if you received a vaccine that requires a second dose).
It’s a good idea to make the appointment for your second of dose of either the Pfizer (21 days later) or Moderna (28 days later) vaccine before leaving the location when you receive your first shot. Then add the date and time to your calendar.
In addition, it is now recommended to get a booster shot five months after your second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna. See if you can make an appointment for your booster when you get your second dose.
If you receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are done after one dose for the initial vaccine. However, it is now recommended to get a booster shot after two months of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. So, consider making your booster appointment when you get your first shot.
Q: What should I do if I did not receive my vaccination card—or I lost it?
If you didn’t receive or have lost your vaccination card and do not have a copy, you have several options:
- Contact the location where you received your first dose. Ask if they can provide you with a new card.
- If you cannot contact your vaccination provider directly, contact your state health department’s immunization information system (IIS). Vaccination providers are required to report COVID-19 vaccinations to their IIS and related systems.
- If you enrolled in v-safe or VaxText, you can access your vaccination information through them.
- If you’re done with your vaccinations (two doses of Moderna or Pfizer, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson) and have lost your card, you can access your vaccination records and get a digital record from your state. To find out how to view or print your state’s digital vaccine record, go here. You’ll need to enter your name, birthdate and email address or phone number associated with your vaccine records, and to create a four-digit PIN. The record will include a QR code that you can save to your mobile phone.
If you still need a second shot, keep your appointment as scheduled. Don’t have a second-dose appointment? Go to the place you got your first shot if possible. If not, go to any location offering the vaccine—they may be able to look up your information. But know that you do need to get the same manufacturer’s vaccine for your second dose as your first (Pfizer or Moderna).
Q: Does the COVID-19 vaccine have side effects?
While some people feel nothing, others may experience some side effects after receiving the vaccine. This can range from discomfort at the shot site to mild flu symptoms that can last up to three or four days.
If you’ve gotten the Shingrix vaccine for shingles, the process will be familiar to you. As with Shingrix, your COVID-19 vaccine might also require two doses and may cause some discomfort for a few days after the first and/or second dose.
You may have similar side effects after receiving a booster.
Q: Can I receive the COVID-19 vaccine if I’ve recently had other vaccines?
Yes, you can. You can now receive COVID-19 vaccines with other vaccines regardless of timing—even on the same day. If you have questions about the COVID-19 or other vaccines, please contact your healthcare provider.
Q: Do I need to get the vaccine if I already had COVID-19? What if I received treatment for COVID?
It is possible to get COVID-19 again, so experts recommend everyone gets the vaccine, even if you’ve already had COVID-19. The recommendation is to wait 90 days after having COVID to get the vaccine—unless you are told otherwise by your doctor, or wish to be immunized sooner. The same timing applies if you’ve received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma treatment for COVID. This is because the treatments may make the vaccine less effective if received before the 90-day wait period.
Q: I’m due to see my doctor. Is it safe to go to the office now?
Most doctor’s offices are seeing patients in person again and have safety practices in place to protect you and their staff.
If you need medical advice, call your doctor’s office. This applies whether you think you have symptoms of the coronavirus or not.
If you had a routine appointment or other care that was delayed during the pandemic, call your doctor to reschedule your appointment now. The same goes for if you are due for preventive care or a follow-up visit. Many of the tests and screenings that SCAN covers are designed to find problems early, while they are most treatable so it’s best not to put off this care any longer. This is especially important if you have a chronic condition, like diabetes or heart disease.
Q. Can I use my telehealth benefit?
We suggest first calling your own doctor. They have your medical history at their fingertips and can best direct your care, including ordering prescription refills.
Your $0 telehealth benefit is best for urgent or after-hours care needs. You can call and speak to a doctor (be aware there may be a wait). Or, you can schedule a call/virtual appointment in advance. Schedule an appointment through the MDLive website or by calling 1-888-993-4087 (TTY: 1-800-770-5531). Find more information at scanhealthplan.com/telehealth.
Q: Is a provider allowed to check me for illness, such as a fever, before allowing me to be treated?
Yes. Please expect that providers and their staff will still do a COVID-19 screening, such as asking questions and taking your temperature, to help protect medical staff. The CDC recommends this practice for healthcare settings and healthcare providers. This means that if you have a non-urgent appointment and you are found to have a fever when initially screened at that office visit, the provider will likely not treat you. Instead, you may first need to be checked for COVID by your primary care doctor or an urgent care provider. If your survey answers and temperature are normal, then COVID testing is not required for an office visit.
Q. Can I get an appointment for my dental cleanings or my annual vision exam?
Most offices are now open for routine care. Call the office and find out what their plans are. If you are having any type of problem, be sure to let them know.
Q: What is coronavirus (COVID-19)?
It is a virus-based illness, with symptoms similar to a cold or flu. The main way it spreads is from person to person when someone with COVID-19 coughs or sneezes.
Q: Aside from washing my hands, how can I protect myself?
Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available, getting vaccinated is the best defense we have against getting sick with the virus. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine HERE.
Protect yourself further by following all physical distancing guidelines for your county or city. These may include wearing a mask in public places and avoiding large gatherings.
The CDC also recommends the following common-sense preventive actions in addition to handwashing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other virus-based illnesses.
- If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60%
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick—and stay home when you’re sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, not your hands.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Keep all medical-related equipment (such as CPAP machines) clean, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.