Updated September 7, 2021
More people have access to the COVID-19 vaccines and the number of adults in the U.S. who are now partial or fully vaccinated continues to increase. However, the highly transmissible Delta variant, now the dominant strain in the U.S., is infecting unvaccinated people primarily and surging in states with low vaccination rates, reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The best protection from COVID-19 and its emerging variants is to be fully vaccinated—considered as two weeks after your single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson), or your second dose of a two-dose series (Moderna and Pfizer), according to the CDC.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for people age 16 and older, based on continued research in the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness data. The Pfizer vaccine is still available under the emergency use authorization (EUA) for people age 12 through 15 and a third shot for some immunocompromised. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are still available under EUA for ages 18 and older.
While millions of Americans have already safely received a COVID-19 vaccine, the FDA approval hopefully instills more confidence to get vaccinated.
Top medical and public health experts and the Department of Health and Human Services have announced guidance that adult Americans that received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine to seek a third dose beginning eight months after full vaccination, pending approval of the FDA. More research is still being done to determine if people who received the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine will need an additional shot. People are still considered fully vaccinated after receiving their single dose of J&J or their second shot of Moderna and Pfizer.
If you have been fully vaccinated, the CDC suggests that you continue to wear a mask indoors, maintain physical distancing and may resume activities without wearing a mask outdoors, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. If we all stay diligent, we can keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.
Visit your state’s health department website or the CDC’s Vaccine Finder site to find out where all eligible people, ages 12 and older, can get a COVID-19 vaccine.
Here’s what Regence is doing to support you:
- Covering COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment
- Expanding virtual care (telehealth) services
- Allowing early medication refills
Contacting members hospitalized with COVID-19 to provide extra support
We’ve made these changes in our Individual and family policies, as well as our fully insured group policies. If your coverage is through a self-funded group plan, you should consult your plan administrator for details.
In addition, we’ve extended grace periods for premium payments (as required by state law). Extensions end when those mandates end.
For group plans governed by ERISA*, we’ve extended the deadlines by which you must file any claims, appeals and make special enrollment changes. The period from March 1, 2020, until 60 days after the National Emergency ends won’t count in determining these deadlines.
*As a general rule, a plan is governed by ERISA if it is a plan for employees of an employer that is not a government (including a tribe) or church.