August 24, 2021

COVID-19: Supporting our communities with information you can trust

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions Regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine

This is the most-up-to date version as of 08.24.2021. We will update this as more information becomes available.

Providence is receiving many inquiries from community members interested in the COVID-19 vaccine. We are working closely with public health authorities as well as our provider and community partners to facilitate vaccination as soon as possible.

The COVID-19 vaccine supplies are available broadly in all of our communities. Local resources such as those listed below can help you to find a vaccination location and secure an appointment. We encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine wherever there is availability. All COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19.



Can’t find an appointment?

  • If you need help making a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, we can help. You can call us at 1-877-216-3644 for assistance.


COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility

  • All people 12 and older living in the US are now eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine*
    • The FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for people 16 years and older, which is now marketed as “Comirnaty”.

  • All people 18 and older living in the US are now eligible for the Moderna COVID-19* vaccine and the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine

    * People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are now eligible to receive a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.


Where can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?

  • Vaccinations are by appointment and some locations allow walk-ins. The links below will help you locate COVID-19 vaccine appointments or walk-in information. Availability for vaccine appointments may change daily and will open as additional vaccines become available.
  • In virtually all communities, many physician offices and local clinics are offering Covid-19 vaccination. Since late spring and early summer 2021, physicians’ offices and other local clinics and immediate care centers have been able to receive and administer Covid-19 vaccinations to their patients and/or the community. This is a welcome access for those members who wish for a personalized approach to vaccination, including asking questions and receiving information specific to their personal needs.
  • For Oregonians, the Oregon Health Authority’s website contains many good pointers to find a COVID-19 Vaccine in Oregon.
    • Not everyone can use the internet for vaccine scheduling. If you need to schedule your vaccination and you do not have access to the internet, you can call 211, 1-866-698-6155 (toll-free), or text your zip code to 898211 (TXT211) between 6:00 am-7:00 pm daily.
    • Additional COVID-19 vaccination clinics may also be found on COVID-19 Vaccine Information by County located on the Oregon Health Authority.


  • For residents of Washington, you can find a vaccinating provider by county on the Vaccine Locations website provided by the Washington State Department of Health.
  • Residents in all other states should check their state or local public health department websites. 
  • Furthermore, COVID-19 vaccine locations for all states can be searched for on the Vaccine Finder website.
  • Additionally for all states, eligible individuals can locate vaccine appointments through most local pharmacies. Many pharmacies offer no appointment vaccines based upon availability. For many Members, you will find “walk-ins” are available such as:


How can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I receive at-home services for a medical condition or disability?

  • Various county vaccine clinics, including drive-thru clinics, are available at Vaccine Information by County or may be found via your county’s public health website. To register for a vaccine, follow the instructions on your local county’s public health website.
  • For all other members who need at-home services, call Customer Service at 1-800-878-4445 to be connected to our Care Management team for more information.

Transportation assistance is available for COVID-19 vaccine appointments:

Medicaid Members

  • Ride to Care – 503-416-3955 or 1-855-321-4899, TTY/TDD 711, interpreter services are available.
  • Ride to Care is a Health Share program that provides free trips to health care appointments. Plan a trip to your next health care appointment-it is free and easy. 
  • Ride to Care can be used for transportation to/from vaccination sites. For more information, visit www.ridetocare.com

Medicare Members

  • Providence Medicare Advantage Plans is pleased to assist members requiring transportation to a COVID-19 vaccination site. Please call OneCall at 1-866-733-8994 for questions or to schedule a transportation service.


You can expect to pay nothing for the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • COVID-19 vaccine is free and will be provided at no cost to you. Vaccines purchased with taxpayer dollars will be available at no cost for all members. In addition, vaccine administration cost is covered in full by any in-network or out-of-network provider or pharmacy. The provider should bill us directly.


Is the COVID-19 vaccine approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?

Yes, the FDA granted full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, now marketed as Comirnaty, for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The FDA thoroughly reviews the safety, effectiveness, and quality of medical products, including vaccines, before granting an FDA approval. After this extensive review, the FDA determined Comirnaty was safe and highly effective in preventing COVID-19 disease.



Is the COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)?

Yes, the following COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for use under the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) may be granted by the FDA only during a public health emergency. When reviewing an EUA, the FDA carefully considers the potential benefits and risks of a product based on the current data. Authorized vaccines:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 12 through 15 years of age
    • People, 12 years and older, with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are authorized to receive an additional dose at least 28 days after a second dose
    • The EUA will continue to cover the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in individuals 16 years of age and older until sufficient approved vaccine can be manufactured and distributed

  • Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 18 and older
    • People with moderately to severely compromised immune systems are authorized to receive an additional dose at least 28 days after a second dose

  • Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine for individuals 18 and older


All COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are highly effective at preventing hospitalizations and death from COVID-19.

Additionally, all available COVID-19 vaccines have been determined safe in preventing COVID-19 by the FDA.

Your vaccine provider will be able to answer additional questions about the different COVID-19 vaccines.



What else can members do to protect themselves?

Members should continue to follow the latest CDC guidelines. Washing your hands often, avoiding close contact (social distance), covering your nose and mouth with a protective cloth or masking when around others, staying home, and limiting your exposure to non-household individuals continue to be our best front line safety practices. Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use your elbow if one is not available, clean and disinfect surfaces frequently, and monitor your health daily.



Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect against variant strains of the virus?

All of the COVID-19 vaccines offer strong protection against variants, including the Delta variant, but breakthrough infections can occur. Fortunately, vaccination, even among those who acquire infections, prevents serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19.



Will I need additional vaccine doses to "boost" my immunity for COVID-19?

The FDA and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have approved the use of an additional third dose of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccination for certain immunocompromised individuals. Specifically solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise. This applies to individuals who received Pfizer (ages 12+ years) or Moderna (18+ years) for their primary series.

CDC recommends the additional dose to be administered at least four weeks (28 days) after the second dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Members should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them.

At this time the CDC does not recommend additional doses or booster shots for any other population.

The US Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to offer a booster shot for fully vaccinated people beginning September 20, 2021. We are awaiting formal guidance from Federal and state health agencies such as CDC and ACIP on the process for administering booster shots. Once we receive that, we will be able to share more information with our members about booster shots. 



I received the Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine and am immunocompromised, does that qualify for a third dose?

The FDA’s recent EUA amendment only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), as does CDC’s recommendation.

At this time there is not enough data to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.



Who should get tested for current COVID-19 infection:

Per the CDC, the following people should be tested for current infection of COVID-19:

People who have symptoms of COVID-19, should get tested for COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.

  • Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea

People who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) with someone with confirmed COVID-19

  • Fully vaccinated people should be tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wear a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days or until they receive a negative test result
  • People who have tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and recovered do not need to get tested following an exposure as long as they do not develop new symptoms

Unvaccinated people who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot physically distance as needed to avoid exposure, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded or poorly-ventilated indoor settings

People who have been asked or referred to get tested by their healthcare provider, or state, tribal, local, or territorial health department



Where to find testing sites:

Providence testing locations: https://www.providence.org/services/covid-19-testing

Contact your healthcare provider or visit your statetribal, or local health department’s website to find the latest local information on testing. The type of viral COVID-19 tests offered may differ by location. In addition, self-testing kits are available at your local pharmacy if you and your healthcare provider think this is a good option for you.



If after reading the commonly asked questions and you still have questions:

  • In Oregon, you can call 211 or 1-866-698-6155 from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily, including holidays. There is an option to get a call back rather than wait on hold. You can text ORCOVID to 898211 or email ORCOVID@211info.org for more information on where to get the vaccine.
  • In Washington, you can call 1-800-525-0127, and then press # from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and observed state holidays. You can also text “Coronavirus” to 211211 to receive information and updates on your phone.
  • If you need help using the online tools, consider working with a family member or trusted friend.
  • You can call us at 1-877-216-3644 for assistance.


Where can I find educational resources to learn more?

Below you will find some educational resources to help you learn up-to-date and reliable information regarding COVID-19 vaccination and other information about this pandemic causing virus.



Language access:

If you speak a language other than English, we can help you get access to an interpreter. For phone interpretation, call Customer Service at 1-800-878-4445 and we can help connect you to an interpreter.

For helpful coronavirus facts from the Oregon Health Authority, click on your choice of language:






Covering costs for COVID-19 treatment

Updated March 26, 2021 to extend the service date to December 31, 2021

March 26, 2021

For service dates beginning April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2021, all member cost sharing for treatment of COVID-19 will be waived. This applies to in-network inpatient, outpatient, facility and professional visits. This change is applicable for all members on an individual and family plan, small group fully insured plan and large group fully insured plan. We are working directly with our self-funded employers to determine the best approach for each of their specific needs.






Health Plan Premium Grace Period

May 8, 2020

Many individuals and businesses are already struggling to pay their health insurance premiums as a result of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.  Providence Health Plan is proactively taking action to ensure continuity of coverage – so members can continue to receive care and medications during this time of uncertainty.

  • If an employer group has furloughed or laid off employees, we will continue to cover those employees contingent on payment of premium by the employer. This means that normal minimum hour requirements will be waived. COBRA may be an option for some of those employees, but this “premium continuation” approach may provide additional stability in the event employers are willing to participate in hopes that they may be able to resume business in the near term.
  • People who purchase individual plans through the federal marketplace and who receive an advance premium tax credit will continue to receive a 3-month grace period, established by federal law that we will continue to follow without adjustment.
  • We will grant a two month extension for the following people that are unable to pay some or all of their premium:

Failure by employers or individuals to pay all premium obligations before the end of the grace period may result in direct member liability for medical services and supplies received after the first month of the grace period. These grace period and premium continuation allowances will be available for premium attributable to March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November and December coverage. This message will be updated if the allowances are continued beyond that period.






Support for health plan members and Medicare beneficiaries impacted by COVID-19

March 11, 2020

Your health and the health of our communities is our priority. Effective immediately, we’ve taken the following steps:

  • We are waiving all cost sharing out-of-pocket costs for testing services related to COVID-19 when ordered by a provider. Cost-sharing means things like copays, coinsurance and deductibles.
  • Members are encouraged to obtain 90-day supplies of medication through their mail order pharmacy or via home delivery, and we will allow early refills for most medications

This applies to our commercial insured, large group, small group, individual and family, and Medicare members.

Providence Health Plan members who have questions about their cost share or any other issues related to COVID-19 are encouraged to contact our customer service center for additional information at 503-574-7500 or 1-800-878-4445, TTY: 711, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Pacific Time).

Providence Medicare Advantage Plans members should call our Medicare customer service center at 503-574-8000 or 1-800-603-2340, TTY: 711, Monday through Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pacific Time).

To limit the possibility of person-to-person exposure of COVID-19, Providence is suspending in-person services at our Murray Business Center in Beaverton. We look forward to returning to normal services in the future.

Please note:  Cost-sharing and benefits may vary depending on your plan, eligibility, changes in coverage for members or their dependents, current status of the “State of Emergency,” and status of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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