COVID-19 Vaccines - Community Health Plan of Washington - Medicare Advantage

COVID-19 Vaccines

What You Need to Know

Sharing the key information you need to keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe.

Short on time? Visit these trusted resources regularly for the most current information available.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WA Department of Health (DOH)

CDC Updates

Recent updates provided and maintained by the CDC Newsroom*:

How can I get the COVID-19 vaccine or booster?

The COVID-19 vaccine and booster is provided free of charge ($0) and available at many locations in Washington State. Assistance is also available if you have questions or need help finding an appointment.

Find a location near you:

  • Online: See real-time appointment availability and details to schedule. Available in more than 30 languages.
  • By phone: call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press #.
  • By text: text your zip code to 438-829 (GET VAX) or 822-862 (VACUNA)

Call 1-833-VAX-HELP (1-833-829-4357), then press # for:

  • Help scheduling an appointment
  • In-language assistance for non-English speakers
  • Transportation assistance
Unable to travel? If you or someone you know is homebound and unable to travel to a vaccine site, you may be able to get a vaccine in your home. To request home based vaccination, submit the home based vaccination form to the Washington State Department of Health. If you have questions, email [email protected].


How can I get a COVID test?

Note: for information about the types of tests available and when to use them, please see Testing for COVID-19 on the CDC website

COVID Test Options

Coverage for Members

Additionally, the following options are available to current CHPW CHPW Medicare Advantage members.

Get free at-home COVID-19 antigen tests (up to 8 individual tests per month):

  • In person at one of our CHPW Medicare Advantage in-network pharmacies – show your member ID at the pharmacy counter to apply your $0 copay
  • Online at – log in*, submit your order ($0 copay will be automatically applied), and have your tests delivered by mail
  • Or, you may submit receipts for reimbursement (up to $12 per individual test; limit 8 per month) to:
    CHPW Claims
    PO Box 269002
    Plano, Texas 75026‐9002

PCR and antigen tests ordered or administered by a health care provider or pharmacist are covered.

*Note: if you have not yet signed up for an Express Scripts online account, you will be prompted to do so

Call our Customer Care team at 1-800-440-1561 (TTY: 711)



Find the information you need, from sources you can trust. Links open in a new window/tab and take you to credible sources which are also noted at the bottom of this page.

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

Click below for answers to common questions about COVID-19 vaccines in Washington State. You can also watch the video below to hear local experts answer questions and address common misunderstandings about the COVID-19 vaccines (recorded March 2021; also available En Español).

Safety and effectiveness

Are the vaccines safe?
  • There is no question that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. Millions of people in the U.S. have received shots.
  • The technology used to develop the first two COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in the U.S., from Moderna and Pfizer, is not new. It has been studied and used for decades in other medical research.
  • It’s true that the COVID vaccines were developed more quickly than other vaccines in the past. But they have been carefully tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of people. There were no serious safety concerns. The test results were reviewed and approved by several independent panels of experts.
  • All three vaccines have met the FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for emergency use authorization to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Additionally, the Pfizer vaccine is officially FDA approved.

COVID-19 vaccine safety is a top priority for the state and federal government, and reports of health problems following COVID-19 vaccination are taken very seriously. Detecting these rare side effects tells us that the systems in place to monitor the safety of these vaccines are working. The reports of a rare, but serious side effect of blood clots with low platelets were detected early, and the pause reflected the state and federal government’s commitment to transparency and safety as CDC and FDA gathered and reviewed additional data. COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history.

Are the vaccines effective?
Clinical trials have demonstrated that all COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States are effective at preventing COVID-19. Additionally, ongoing research provides growing evidence that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines offer similar protection in real world conditions.

➔ View details about what the research is telling us about the effectiveness of the COVID vaccines

How can communities of color trust these vaccines?
  • The COVID-19 vaccines were tested in clinical trials involving tens of thousands of volunteers of all races and ethnicities.
  • In the trials, the vaccines protected adults of different races, ethnicities, and ages from the virus.

What people of color should know about the COVID-19 vaccines, by Sherita Golden, M.D., M.H.S., vice president and chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine

Visit Join the Conversation to hear from doctors, nurses, and community health workers who identify as people of color.

EthnoMed at Harborview Medical Center has also compiled a directory of resources available in non-English languages.

➔ Protect Your Family – Get Vaccinated for COVID-19
➔ Proteja a su familia Vacúnese contra la COVID-19
➔ Ilaali Qoyskaaga Iska tallaal COVID-19
➔ ቤተሰብዎን ይጠብቁ የኮቪድ-19 ክትባትን ይውሰዱ
➔ 保护您的家人– 接种新冠19疫苗
➔ Bảo vệ Gia đình Quý vị Chủng ngừa COVID-19

Will I ever need to get tested for COVID again?
Yes, if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms. It is uncommon for fully vaccinated individuals to become sick with COVID-19 because the vaccines are highly effective. However, since none of the vaccines are 100% effective, a small proportion of vaccinated people may still become infected with COVID-19. As of April 2021, vaccine breakthrough has occurred in about 0.01 percent of Washington’s fully vaccinated population.

If you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms, find a COVID-19 Testing location near you.

What are breakthrough cases? What's the Delta variant?
A breakthrough case occurs when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with the coronavirus. A fully vaccinated person who becomes infected may become ill and may spread the coronavirus to others.

The Delta variant is a strain that causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19/coronavirus). The Delta variant is highly contagious, and some data suggest the it might cause more severe illness than previous strains in unvaccinated persons.

Getting vaccinated for COVID-19 is the best way to keep you, your loved ones, and our community safe.

➔ Visit the CDC to learn more about breakthroughs and variants
➔ Read this Yale Medicine article explaining why vaccination is the best way to prevent infection and transmission

Side effects and special conditions

Can I get COVID-19 from a COVID-19 vaccine?
No. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine.

None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines or vaccines currently in development in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.

Are there side effects?
After you get the COVID-19 vaccine, you may experience reactions that include tiredness, nausea, headache, sore muscles, chills, and fever. These may feel unpleasant, but they’re a sign that the vaccine is teaching your body how to protect itself against COVID-19. These symptoms should go away within a few days.

Learn more about possible side effects from the CDC ➜

You may have heard that the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) vaccine was paused for 11 days in April 2021 due to reports of a rare, but serious side effect. According to the CDC, this side effect occurs at a rate of about 7 per 1 million vaccinated women between 18 and 49 years old, and this adverse event is even more rare for women 50 years and older and men of all ages. The CDC recommended that use of the J&J vaccine resume, effective April 23, 2021.

What about people with other risk factors or health concerns?
If you are unsure if COVID-19 vaccination is right for you, call your doctor, nurse, or clinic.

You can also find recommendations on the CDC’s website, for people with specific health or life conditions such as:

Can children get vaccinated?
Youth ages 5-17 are eligible to receive the Pfizer vaccine*

Getting youth vaccinated is vital for families and communities. Ensure that everyone in your family can stay healthy, remain in the classroom, safely spend time with friends, and take part in activities they enjoy.

Learn more about this important, no cost ($0) vaccine for children:

Learn what local youth have to say about the vaccine ➜

*Note: When scheduling an appointment for a child, make sure the location you choose administers the appropriate vaccine for their age group. Parent or guardian consent is required.

Will the vaccine damage or change my DNA?
  • No, this is not possible. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines like Pfizer’s and Moderna’s never enter the cell nucleus, where the DNA, your genetic material, lives.
  • The vaccine is broken down quickly once it enters the cell and delivers the needed “message” to the cell’s machinery.
  • Imagine the vaccine enters your body with an instruction manual. Your immune system memorizes the manual so it can fight COVID-19. It can’t change your DNA.


How much will it cost? What if I don't have insurance?
  • Cost = $0. The federal government is covering the vaccine for free to all people living in the United States.
  • You should not be charged any out-of-pocket costs. You should not get a bill from your provider, from the place where you got your shot, or from your insurer. If you receive a bill for a COVID vaccine, report it here.
  • If a provider charges “administration fee” for giving you the vaccine, this fee will be charged to your health insurance plan, e.g., CHPW, or to the federal program which will pay the provider.
Can I get vaccine information in my language? Do I need to share immigration status, Social Security number, and/or government ID?
No. A provider may ask for immigration/citizenship status, Social Security number, and/or government ID, but they are not required to receive the vaccine.

You and your family members can get the care you need without fear. Testing, treatment, and vaccination for coronavirus will not count against you in a test of public charge.

Learn more about COVID and immigration status from the Northwest Justice Project ➜

Learn more about the COVID vaccine and immigration status from the WA Department of Health ➜

What if I can't go to my usual clinic or facilities or need to switch providers because of the Covid-19 emergency?

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has put into effect Special Requirements for Medicare Advantage Organizations, under 42 CFR 422.100(m)(1), as a result of the COVID-19 emergency to ensure access to benefits for CHPW Medicare Advantage members:

  1. Cover Medicare Parts A and B services and supplemental Part C plan benefits furnished at non-contracted facilities subject to § 422.204(b)(3).
  2. Waive, in full, requirements for gatekeeper referrals where applicable.
  3. Provide the same cost-sharing for the enrollee as if the service or benefit had been furnished at a plan-contracted facility.
  4. Make changes that benefit the enrollee effective immediately without the 30-day notification requirement at § 422.111(d)(3).



Sources: CDC, FDA, CNN, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, EthnoMed, Greater Than COVID, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Mayo Clinic, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Immigration Law Center, National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants, Northwest Justice Project, WA Department of Health, WA State Coronavirus Response, Yale Medicine

*CDC Updates RSS feed provided and maintained by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (usage guidelines and disclaimer).

CHPW joins health care providers across the state in our commitment to supporting COVID-19 vaccination.
Band-Aid icon next to the letters SAVE, with the following below: SEEK, ASK, VACCINATE, EMPOWER


A Nap a Day Could Keep The Doctor Away

An older man taking a nap on the couch.Many Americans do not get enough sleep and this can contribute to a number of health issues. Taking a nap during the day can help your body restore itself and promotes brain and heart health. A 20-minute nap has a variety of health benefits – from improved mood, to better focus and memory function. In some cultures, napping is even prescribed as a health treatment by doctors!

If you have trouble sleeping, take steps to improve your quality of sleep.


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