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COVID-19 Vaccine: Everything you need to know about timeline, hidden costs, more


COVID-19 vaccines could arrive by the end of 2020.

Sarah Tew / CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

The US is preparing for tens of millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses to arrive by the end of 2020, and you have questions. How many vaccinations will there be and how will it be given? Is it free or will you have to pay? How long will you personally have to wait to receive, and can you choose which brand of vaccine you get?

Here’s everything we know so far about the coronavirus vaccine and what to expect when it arrives.

How many coronavirus vaccines will there be?

Dozens of vaccine candidates are being developed around the world, but there are two of them, Pfizer and Moderna, claimed to be 95% and 94% effective, respectively, against the coronavirus. Both have sought urgent approval from the Food and Drug Administration to get vaccines for delivery as early as the end of December.

Pfizer and Moderna use a type of vaccine technology that focuses on the mRNA of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (that’s the official name of the coronavirus). Expect other types of vaccines to emerge, such as from Novavax and AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University.

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How many people will be immunized against COVID-19 first?

Pfizer and Moderna are increasing productivity, but we know that in 2020 there will be up to 50 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and 20 million doses from Moderna. In 2021, we can expect to see 1.3 billion from Pfizer and anywhere from 500 million to 1 billion doses of Moderna.

After the initial vaccine, a second dose will be needed after a set period of weeks (depending on which vaccine you receive, it could be three or four weeks). This is required for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. As a result, 20 million doses, for example, can vaccinate 10 million people. The US has a population of approximately 330 million.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine a shot or something else?

The current immunization works as a series of two injections administered several weeks apart for full vaccination to take place. There may be another way in the future for vaccination, such as infusion, where the vaccine will be delivered intravenously.


You will need to have two doses of coronavirus vaccine, weeks apart.

Sarah Tew / CNET

When will I be able to get the vaccine? Is there an order for who gets it first?

Yes. Because the doses are so limited, states will prioritize which groups of people will be first to receive the COVID-19 immunization. An advisory group to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made a recommendation, which the CDC could adopt. But every state will have the final say.

Every major global and domestic recommendation to date puts healthcare workers at the top of that list, with the general population finally in line. Depending on who you are, you may have to wait until spring or summer, when there are enough vaccines to get around, to be immunized. Here is a more complete list of who will likely receive the COVID-19 vaccine first (and finally).

How will I know when I can be vaccinated? What should I do while waiting for a vaccine to arrive?

Your national and local health provider will first begin to communicate who can be immunized against COVID-19 and how to do so. We will be watching for more details and will update this section when we know more.

Meanwhile, health experts stress that you should continue to wear a face mask, social distance from people outside your home and wash your hands to slow the spread of the disease. The US is currently over 14 million reported cases, with more than 276,000 known deaths, as infections continue to rise alongside record-breaking hospitals.

Can I choose which coronavirus vaccine I get?

It is uncertain whether you will have a choice of which brand or type of vaccine you will receive. This may depend on how much dose of the vaccine is available in your area and where you receive it.

It also depends on whether you live near a medical center with “medical-grade ultracold freezers,” USA Today reports, as the Pfizer vaccine must be kept in cold, dry ice temperatures. On the other hand, the Moderna vaccine can be stored at temperatures between 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 30 days, making it much easier to reach.

Note that once you get the first shot of the vaccine, you will have to stick to that brand for the second shot.


Everyone in the US could be vaccinated by June.

Sarah Tew / CNET

When will the vaccine be available to everyone?

Everyone in the US could be vaccinated against COVID-19 by June, according to Moncef Slaoui, the top science advisor for the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed. Dr. Anthony Fauci, top US infectious disease specialist, expects anyone to have access to the vaccine between April and June 2021.

When you however, getting the coronavirus vaccine will depend on which group you fall into. You could get it in January if you’re a healthcare professional, or you may have to wait until June if you’re a younger adult with no preexisting conditions.

How much will the coronavirus vaccine cost?

Regardless of whether you have health insurance or not, the COVID-19 vaccine will be free for all Americans, according to the Medicare and Medicaid Service Centers. The government organization also said it intends to make sure you can reimburse any FDA-approved coronary virus treatments that are charged for.

But just because the vaccine itself is free doesn’t mean you won’t get a bill. Many providers can legally charge an administration fee for giving the shot to patients, according to the CDC. You can file a claim with your insurance company, however, as they are required to cover approved preventative care under the Affordable Care Act.

Read more: A vaccine for COVID-19 may be free, but you could still see a bill. Here’s what we know

44-home face mask

Even if you have the vaccine, you should still wear a mask, according to the CDC guidelines.

Anne Dujmovic / CNET

Where can I get the vaccine once it’s here? Does he have to be in hospital?

Much like the flu vaccine, you can probably get the coronavirus vaccine in pharmacy shops, clinics, hospitals, doctors’ offices and health departments. A Walgreen representative told CNET that its pharmacies would distribute COVID-19 vaccines to customers, but did not say when.

Schools and community centers are also likely to serve as vaccination sites in the beginning, to accommodate more people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization also says the provinces will need to approve “hundreds to thousands of partners and site locations for vaccine delivery.”

What happens after I have the COVID-19 vaccine? Can I go wherever I want?

Once you have had the first coronavirus vaccine, you will receive a vaccination card detailing what shot you had and when you will need to go back for a second.

Once you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you continue to practice social isolation and wear a mask while out in public. The CDC says it is important to do so while “experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions.”

Although scientific evidence so far shows redefining is uncommon, there is still a lot we do not know about the new virus. This is why it is important to follow the GDC guidelines for protecting yourself and others from the coronavirus, whether or not you have had the vaccine.

For more information on the coronavirus vaccine, here’s everything to know about the coronavirus vaccines being introduced this year a the CDC’s priority list for who will get the vaccine first.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

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