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4 Things to Know about COVID-19 Vaccines

February 15, 2022

Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is one of the best and safest ways to protect yourself and everyone around you. Learn about the vaccines, including how your Empire plan covers your vaccination and how health authorities are ensuring vaccine safety.


1. Empire members will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.

Empire members will have no out-of-pocket costs for the vaccination during this national public health emergency. This applies to all members, regardless of their type of health plan or the doctor or healthcare professional they choose to visit for COVID-19 vaccination.


2. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved emergency use authorization of a single booster dose to be given after completion of the primary series.

  • If your primary series of vaccinations (two doses) were Pfizer-BioNTech, then you can receive a booster after at least five months. If you're 12 to 17 years old, you can get a Pfizer booster, and if you're 18 or older, you can get any vaccine as a booster.
  • If your primary series of vaccinations (two doses) were Moderna and you're 18 or older, you can get any vaccine as a booster after at least five months.
  • If your first vaccine was Johnson & Johnson, and you're 18 or older, you can get any vaccine as a booster after at least two months.

For more details, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.


3. The FDA has granted full approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The Pfizer vaccine is approved for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years and older. The vaccine will continue to be available under emergency use authorization for children ages 5 to 15 years old.

The Moderna vaccine also has full approval for use among adults ages 18 and older.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine continues to be authorized by the FDA for adults ages 18 and older.

Researchers have studied vaccine reactions and potential side effects throughout large clinical trials used to authorize each of the three vaccines. The FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers continue to monitor vaccine safety and quality. At this point, data on more than 200 million Americans support the use of these vaccines.


4. As of October 29, 2021, all individuals in the U.S. ages 5 and older are eligible for the vaccine.

Visit to find COVID-19 vaccines near you. Learn how to prepare for your vaccination and what precautions to take after vaccination.

If you'd like to learn more about the vaccine, visit the CDC website.

Empire is committed to supporting you and your health. We will keep you updated on the vaccine through the SydneySM Health mobile app or by checking back here on our website.

Please visit the CDC website for more information, including a very small number of reports involving a rare and severe type of blood clot in people who have received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. No one has reported similar blood clotting events associated with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines, please talk to your doctor.
Sydney Health is offered through an arrangement with CareMarket, Inc., a separate company offering mobile application services on behalf of Empire BlueCross BlueShield ©2021-2022.

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Stay informed by checking these resources for up-to-date information about COVID-19, especially if you’re thinking about traveling.