COVID-19 vaccines are essential for making our communities safer, getting people back to work and keeping our schools open. Even more important is making sure all members of our communities have equal access to these vaccines. That’s why CareOregon is working with federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and community-based organizations to increase access to the most vulnerable among us. “We’re all in this together” must truly apply to “all.”

We know it can be a challenge to find good information about the vaccine, which is why we’re offering this place for helpful, reliable information. As we learn more, we will continue to update this page. 

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COVID-19 home tests available free by mail

The federal government is making COVID home tests available for every household in the United States, through the United States Postal Service. Fill in your name and address and you will be sent four free home tests (four per household). Shipping will start in late January. The website is here: special.usps.com/testkits


What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?­

OHA suggests these steps if you test positive for COVID-19:

  • Stay home and stay away from others, including the people in your own household.
  • If you’re sick:
    • Isolate for five days from when you started feeling sick.
    • Take care of yourself.
    • Call your clinic or provider if your symptoms get worse.
  • Whether or not you feel sick or have symptoms, isolate for five days from the day you tested positive.
  • If you still have a fever or other symptoms after the first five days, keep isolating from others.
  • If you have no fever or symptoms at the end of five days of isolating, you can be around other people. But make sure any fever or symptoms are gone for 24 hours, without the help of medicine, before you’re around other people.
  • Even after the first five days of isolating, wear a well-fitting mask for five more days when you’re around others. The mask should ideally be a KN-95 mask or better.

For more details, visit OHA’s positive COVID-19 test webpage at oregon.gov/positivecovidtest

On this page, you’ll find answers to these questions. Click on a question to jump to that section:

 

What are the best places to find up-to-date information about the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer up-to-date information on the COVID-19 vaccines. You can find their public COVID-19 vaccine pages here:

You can also call 211 or TTY 711 for the latest information, or text “ORVAX” to 898211 for live text help in English or Spanish.

 

Who is eligible for the vaccine?

  • Everyone age 5 and over is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine:
    • People ages 5-17 are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
    • Children ages 5-11 will receive a pediatric version of the vaccine.
    • Everyone ages 5-14 must have permission from a parent or guardian.

The following table from the CDC shows who is currently eligible for the vaccines.

CDCVaccineTable

 

How do community members get a vaccination?

There are multiple ways to make an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, and many locations are offering walk-in (or drive-through) vaccines without an appointment:

If people have questions about the vaccine related to unique health conditions, they should contact their provider.

Many people are trying to find information right now, so wait times or website load times may be longer than normal.

 

What should people do before and after they get the vaccine?

  • Have food and water beforehand.
  • Wear clothes that allow them to remove or pull down their sleeve, in order to get the vaccine in their upper arm.
  • Wear a face covering.
  • Bring their Member ID card with them. Medicare members should bring their red, white and blue Medicare card.
  • After receiving the vaccine, people will need to wait for 30 minutes for monitoring.
  • The whole appointment should take between 30 to 60 minutes.
  • The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are given in two doses. The first shot helps the immune system recognize the virus, and the second strengthens the immune response.
  • For those vaccines, people should ask about their second shot when they get the first shot.
  • The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is given in a single dose.
  • It takes time for the body to build immunity after a shot. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after their single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
  • The CDC and OHA have guidelines for wearing face coverings and other information for full vaccinated people: CDC | OHA

 

Is the vaccine safe and effective?

The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer vaccine, and has approved the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for emergency use. These vaccines are safe and effective.

  • All COVID-19 vaccines had large-scale clinical trials. Tens of thousands of people received the vaccines during these trials — far more participants than were tested in most trials.
  • Trial participants came from a range of diverse backgrounds.
  • The FDA approved fully approved the Pfizer vaccine — and approved the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for emergency use — after a careful review of the trial data. 
  • There were no serious safety issues found during any of the vaccine trials.
  • The vaccines currently available are Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
  • Regarding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine: According to the CDC, “CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States, after a temporary pause…A review of all available data this time shows that the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks. However, women younger than 50 years old especially should be aware of the rare but increased risk of [thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome…which involves blood clots with low platelets] and that there are other COVID-19 vaccine options available for which the risk has not been seen.” According to the OHA, “All three approved COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective. With three vaccines now available, Oregonians should get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

 

Will people need a booster dose or third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC and FDA now recommend third doses or booster doses for everyone age 12 and above. An additional booster of the Pfizer vaccine is also available for people age 50 and above. OHA has detailed information about third/booster doses, which you can find here.

 

How do I get free home tests for COVID-19 from the postal service?

COVID-19 home tests available free by mail

The federal government is making COVID home tests available for every household in the United States, through the United States Postal Service. Fill in your name and address and you will be sent four free home tests (four per household). Shipping will start in late January. The website is here: special.usps.com/testkits

 

Can members get a home test for COVID-19 at the pharmacy?

COVID-19 home tests available at no cost to you 

Home tests for COVID-19 are now available for people who have: 

  • Symptoms of COVID-19, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath, or loss of taste and smell. 
  • Been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.  

These tests let you take your own sample and get results in 10-15 minutes. You can get up to eight tests every 30 days. 

You don’t need a prescription for most home COVID-19 tests. Go to a pharmacy in our network, show them your Health Share/CareOregon Member ID card, and your home COVID-19 test will be fully covered. (To find a pharmacy in our network, click here.) Many brands of home tests are fully covered, but not all. See our formulary for details.

If you paid out of pocket for tests, we may be able to reimburse you. Please use this form. Include your receipt(s) with your submission, but no prescription details are required. We can reimburse up to $12 per test.

If you have questions about home COVID-19 tests, please contact Customer Service at 800-224-4840 or TTY 711. 

If you test positive, stay home for at least 10 days and try to stay in a separate room from anyone you live with. Call your provider and tell them about your test. They can confirm how long you should stay at home and can help with next steps. For more information about what to do if you test positive, click here

If you test negative, you may still have COVID-19. You can repeat the test in one to two days as directed by the test kit. You may need to get another test from a health care provider that a lab will analyze to get more accurate results. Call your provider for more details. 

 

What should I do if I test positive for COVID-19?­

OHA suggests these steps if you test positive for COVID-19:

  • Stay home and stay away from others, including the people in your own household.
  • If you’re sick:
    • Isolate for five days from when you started feeling sick.
    • Take care of yourself.
    • Call your clinic or provider if your symptoms get worse.
  • Whether or not you feel sick or have symptoms, isolate for five days from the day you tested positive.
  • If you still have a fever or other symptoms after the first five days, keep isolating from others.
  • If you have no fever or symptoms at the end of five days of isolating, you can be around other people. But make sure any fever or symptoms are gone for 24 hours, without the help of medicine, before you’re around other people.
  • Even after the first five days of isolating, wear a well-fitting mask for five more days when you’re around others. The mask should ideally be a KN-95 mask or better.

For more details, visit OHA’s positive COVID-19 test webpage at oregon.gov/positivecovidtest.

 

What should I do if I think I might have COVID-19?­

If you have symptoms or need immediate care, please call your primary care provider. If you don’t have symptoms but have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, the COVID-19 Case Support Hotline may be able to help. You can call the hotline at 866-917-8881.

 

What happens to Oregon Health Plan (OHP) coverage after COVID-19? How long will COVID-19 be considered an official “Public Health Emergency”?

Near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government labeled it an official Public Health Emergency (PHE). When this happened, the normal yearly checks to confirm people still qualify for the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) were put on hold.

At least two months before the end of the PHE, Oregon will be notified that the PHE will not be extended. Once that happens, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will need to start the process of “redetermination.” This means they will need to confirm that all OHP members still qualify for Medicaid coverage. This process has not started yet. When it does, OHA will send letters on a rolling basis when it’s time to renew so you will be notified if you need to fill out new paperwork. They will ask members to send proof of certain details (e.g., how much money they make) or to confirm other information. Visit the OHA website for more details.

 

Where can I find other resources or information about the vaccines?

Unless otherwise stated, all of the following materials are in PDF format so they can be easily downloaded and/or printed.