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VACCINE TEAM | Q&A on $25 vaccination fees, safety for pregnant women

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As we continue to watch vaccines roll out across Kentucky, we are here to answer your questions on the vaccine.

When I went to get my first shot, I was told to bring my insurance card and ID. After asking about it,I was told that St. Claire was charging insurance companies $25 per vaccination. I thought that the shots were being paid for by the federal government.

You’re correct that the vaccine was purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars so it can be given to the American people at no cost.

Your insurance may be billed for an office visit or administration fee for administration of the vaccine; however, you cannot be turned away from receiving the vaccine due to lack of payment. The federal government has required that patients incur no out-of-pocket cost for either getting the shot or for the vaccine itself.

Is it safe for a woman to take one of the vaccines while pregnant?

New studies indicate at least the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are safe.

Data by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices shows that over 30,000 women who are pregnant have been safely vaccinated for COVID-19. The preliminary safety study took place between December and January, comparing women who were pregnant and not pregnant.

During the study, the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine wasn’t an approved vaccination option so it wasn’t part of the study.

“Now we have some data that shows they haven’t had any increased risk of bad outcomes from their pregnancies. Their babies have been just as healthy as their counterparts who weren’t vaccinated,” says Dr. Melanie Swift, co-chair of Mayo Clinic’s COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution Work Group.

Women who are pregnant and participate in V-Safe ― a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention safety monitoring program following COVID-19 vaccination ― are being followed at these intervals to monitor for longer-term adverse effects.

“Pregnant women are at increased risk for bad outcomes when they get COVID-19. And even if they’re healthy, the pregnancy itself makes them susceptible to some of the complications of COVID-19. So pregnant women are more likely to have severe COVID-19 and more likely to be hospitalized,” says Dr. Swift. “And any severe illness in pregnancy increases the risk to the outcome of the pregnancy. So that’s one reason — despite the lack of controlled trials in pregnant women — why experts who take care of pregnant women do encourage them to be vaccinated because they really want to protect pregnant women from having these severe outcomes from COVID-19.”

As with all medical decisions, it’s also best to get the opinion of your medical provider.

When will there be more information on how long your vaccine will last? Will this become like a yearly flu shot in the future?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, we still don’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated.

For now, both Pfizer and Moderna require two doses to get the most protection. However, both companies are studying whether a third dose is needed.

New information released last week found the Pfizer vaccine was still highly effective six months after the second dose.

In interviews, the head of Pfizer says a third shot will raise the antibody response 10- to 20- fold. Moderna is studying a third dose designed to target specific variants.

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