El Paso Health | About Your Health | Spring 2021

7 common questions about COVID-19 vaccines Don’t lose your benefits! M any aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. One of those is the ongoing effort to quickly develop and deliver safe and effective vaccines against the virus that causes COVID-19. Here are answers to some questions you may have about these vaccines. Q How many vaccines are there? Three vaccines have already been authorized for use in the U.S. One is made by Pfizer and BioNTech, one by Moderna, and another by Janssen Biotech, Inc. (a Johnson & Johnson company). Millions of doses have been shipped out around the country, and more are on their way. Multiple other vaccines are still being worked on in the U.S. Several of those are in Phase 3 clinical trials. That is typically the final stage of the vaccine trial process before a vaccine may be submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for review. Q Why are so many vaccines being developed at once? The vaccines work in different ways. Some are based on using dead viruses to stimulate immunity. (This is the same method used for the flu shot and many other vaccines.) Others use just a part of the virus, like the spike protein from its surface. And still others are based on newer methods using the virus’s genetic material—either on its own or inserted into another harmless virus. Exploring different approaches gives a better chance of finding safe and effective vaccines. Q When can I get vaccinated? States each set their own rules for distributing vaccines. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that the following groups should be offered the vaccine first: ■ Health-care workers. ■ Residents of long-term care facilities. Next in line are: ■ Frontline essential workers. ■ Older adults. ■ Younger adults with underlying medical conditions. ■ Other essential workers. As the supply increases, vaccines will be made available to other groups. Check with your local health department to find out whether you can get a vaccine yet and how to sign up. Remember that if you do not renew your application on time, you will lose all your Medicaid or CHIP benefits. When you receive your renewal application notification (email or package in the mail) make sure to: 1. Go to YourTexasBenefits.com . 2. Create an account. 3. Review your information. 4. Update any information. 5. Upload current income and deduction papers. 6. Click “submit” to send your renewal application. 7. Make sure you receive a confirmation email that your renewal application was sent. If you have any questions, we can help you renew your application. If you call us for assistance to renew your application, you will receive a gift. Call us toll-free at 1-877-532-3778 , Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 2 family health