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COVID-19 Vaccine: Hidden Cost, Where & When You Get It, How Many Doses You Need


COVID-19 vaccines may arrive in late 2020.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Visit the WHO website for the most current news and information about the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday the FDA approved Pfizer’s first coronavirus vaccine. By the end of 2020, the US is on track to reach tens of millions COVID-19 vaccine doses. But exactly how many vaccinations will there be and how will they be administered? Is a vaccination completely free or you will have to pay? How long do you want personally have to wait to receive it, and you can choose what brand or type of vaccine you are receiving?

There’s plenty we don’t quite know yet, but we’re closely watching the situation and will update this story as we learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine.

How many coronavirus vaccines will there be?

Dozens of vaccine candidates are in development around the world, but two of them are coming out Pfizer and Moderna, would be 95% and 94% effective against the coronavirus, respectively. Both companies have urged approval of the Food and Drug Administration to roll out vaccines already at the end of December.

Pfizer and Moderna both use a type of vaccine technology that focuses on the SARS-CoV-2 virus mRNA (that’s the official name of the coronavirus). Expect other types of vaccines to emerge, such as from Novavax and AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University. In addition, dozens more are in development, and different countries may use different vaccine formulations from different makers.

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How many doses of the vaccine are readily available?

Pfizer and Moderna are ramping up production, but we do know that by 2020 there will be up to 50 million doses of Pfizer vaccine and 20 million doses of Moderna initially. By 2021, we can expect 1.3 billion doses from Pfizer and anywhere from 500 million to 1 billion doses from Moderna.

After the first vaccine, a second dose is needed after a specified period of weeks (depending on the vaccine you receive, this may take three or four weeks). This is required for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be effective. As a result, for example, 20 million doses can vaccinate 10 million people. The US has about 330 million inhabitants.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine an Injection or Something Else?

The current immunization works as a series of two injections administered several weeks apart for the complete inoculation to take place. There may be another way to get vaccinated in the future, such as an IV, where the vaccine is given intravenously, or an adhesive patch that you put on your skin for a period of time.


You should receive two doses of coronavirus vaccines, weeks apart.

Sarah Tew / CNET

When can I get the vaccine? Is there an order for who receives it first?

Yes. Since the number of doses that can be taken at the same time is limited, states will prioritize which groups of people will be first in line to get the COVID-19 immunization. An advisory group from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made a recommendation, which the CDC could adopt. But each state has the final say.

Every major global and domestic recommendation to date puts health professionals at the top of that list, with the general population last. Depending on who you are, you may have to wait until spring or summer, when there are enough vaccines to go around, to get immunized. Here’s a more complete list of these who are likely to receive the COVID-19 vaccine first (and finally).

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

Your state and local health care providers will begin to communicate who can be immunized against COVID-19 first and how to do it. We’ll be watching for more details and will update this section when we know more.

In the meantime, health experts insist that you should keep wearing a face masksocially distancing yourself from people outside of your household and washing your hands to slow the spread of disease. More than 14 million cases have currently been reported in the US, with more than 276,000 known deaths, as infections continue to increase in addition to record-breaking hospital admissions.

Can I choose which coronavirus vaccine I will receive?

It is uncertain whether you can choose which brand or type of vaccine you will receive. This may depend on how many doses of the vaccine are available in your area and where you should receive it.

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

Note that once you get the first vaccination, you must stick with that brand on the second shot.


Anyone in the US could have been vaccinated by June.

Sarah Tew / CNET

When will the vaccine be available to everyone?

According to Moncef Slaoui, the federal government’s chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, everyone in the US could have been vaccinated against COVID-19 by June. Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, expects everyone to have access to the vaccine between April and June 2021.

When you however, you will receive the coronavirus vaccine will depend on the group you fall into. You can get it in January if you’re a healthcare provider, or you may have to wait until June if you’re a younger adult with no pre-existing conditions.

Will children be able to get the vaccine?

Children will not be able to receive the coronavirus vaccines immediately. Dr. Jose Romero, a CDC adviser, said children under 18 can expect their photos in the second half of 2021, CNBC reported.

Moderna plans to begin testing the vaccine on children between the ages of 12 and 17 this year, but has not yet begun the recruitment process, according to a government study from Clinical Trials. Pfizer announced in October that it would start testing its vaccine on children 12 and older. For now, it is undetermined when the COVID-19 vaccine will be tested on children aged 11 and under.

How much will the coronavirus vaccine cost me?

Regardless of whether you have health insurance or not, the COVID-19 vaccine is free for all Americans, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The government organization also said it plans to make sure that you can reimburse any FDA-approved coronavirus treatments that you will be billed 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 injection to patients, according to the CDC. However, you can file a claim with your insurance company as it is required to cover approved preventive care under the Affordable Care Act.

read more: Vaccine for COVID-19 may be free, but you can still see a bill. This is what we know

44 homemade face mask

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

Anne Dujmovic / CNET

Where can I get the vaccine once it gets here? Does it have to be in a hospital?

Like the flu vaccine, the coronavirus vaccine is expected to be available at pharmacy stores, clinics, hospitals, doctor’s offices and health departments. A Walgreen representative told CNET that its pharmacies would distribute COVID-19 vaccines to customers, but did not say when.

It’s also likely that schools and community centers will serve as vaccination sites in the beginning to house more people, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The organization also says states must “approve hundreds to thousands of partners and sites for vaccine delivery.”

Here’s a full list of what we know so far where to find the COVID-19 vaccine where you live.

What Happens After I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Can I go where I want?

Once you have received the first coronavirus vaccine, you will receive a vaccination card stating which injection you received and when to return for the second.

After you receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you maintain social distance and wear a mask when in public. The CDC says it is important to do this as “experts learn more about the protection COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions.”

Even though scientific evidence shows so far reinfection is uncommon, there is still a lot we don’t know about the new virus. That’s why it’s important to follow the CDC’s guidelines to protect yourself and others from the coronavirus, whether you’ve had the vaccine or not.

For more information about the coronavirus vaccine, here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus vaccines being rolled out this year and the CDC’s priority list for who gets the vaccine first.

The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care practitioner if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.

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