COVID-19 Vaccines: What You Need to Know

Updated on April 5, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone ages 5+ get a COVID-19 vaccine and that everyone ages 12+ get a booster shot. Some people can receive two boosters. Whether you aren't yet vaccinated or you’re eligible for a booster, you can make an appointment in Rhode Island at vaccinateri.org or outside of Rhode Island at vaccines.gov.

3 things to know about the COVID-19 vaccines

  1. You’re covered for the vaccines at no cost.
    The U.S. government is providing the vaccine for free, and you won’t pay any costs when you receive the vaccine from a pharmacy, vaccination clinic, or other provider approved by the government.
  2. Getting a booster shot is important.
    Studies show after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with variants may decrease over time and due to changes in variants. Some people can receive two boosters. 
  3. The vaccines were found to be effective in diverse groups of people.
    The COVID-19 vaccines were studied across a population of diverse ages, races, and sexes. The vaccines were tested in older adults and communities of color. 

Vaccine FAQs

Yes. The U.S. government is providing the vaccine for free, and you won’t pay any costs when you receive the vaccine from a pharmacy, vaccination clinic, or other provider approved by the government. Sign up for a vaccine appointment in Rhode Island.

  • If you have a BCBSRI Medicare Advantage plan or Plan 65 – Original Medicare will pay for the vaccine, so please use the Medicare number on your red, white, and blue Medicare card to register for your vaccination appointment and bring the card to your appointment. 
     
  • For members of all other BCBSRI plans – Please use your BCBSRI member ID card number.

The CDC recommends everyone ages 5+ get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect against COVID-19, and that children and teens ages 12+ get a booster shot. Find out why children and teens should get vaccinated, how to find a vaccine, the safety and dosage of the vaccines, and much more on the CDC website. You can schedule your child’s shot in Rhode Island at vaccinateri.org or outside of Rhode Island at vaccines.gov.

 

To find out who can receive a second booster, please visit the CDC website.

The CDC recommends that everyone ages 12+ get a booster shot. Some people can receive two boosters. Please visit the CDC website to learn more about when and why to get a booster shot as well as who is eligible for a second booster. You can schedule your booster shot in Rhode Island at vaccinateri.org or outside of Rhode Island at vaccines.gov.

Studies show after getting vaccinated against COVID-19, protection against the virus and the ability to prevent infection with variants may decrease over time and due to changes in variants. Find out more about boosters on the CDC website.

For vaccines and boosters, the CDC prefers the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna (mRNA COVID-19 vaccines) in most situations. Children and teens ages 12-17 can only receive a Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster. Find out more on the CDC website.

There should be no costs, as the government-approved pharmacy or provider should directly bill BCBSRI or Original Medicare (for members with BCSBRI Medicare Advantage plans and Plan 65). If you do get a bill, please call us for assistance.

Rhode Islanders can now get a copy of their COVID-19 vaccine record through portal.ri.gov/VaccineRecord. From this website, you can search for and print proof of your COVID-19 vaccination. If you need a second dose of vaccine, this record will tell you when you are eligible to get your second dose. Please note that only people who have received their COVID-19 vaccination in Rhode Island will be able to look up their vaccination record online.

If you are having trouble finding your vaccination record or are not able to go online, you can call the Rhode Island Department of Health at (401) 222-8022 for help.
 

Please visit the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By calling 2-1-1, people who live, work, or go to school in Rhode Island also get additional support when scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment on VaccinateRI.org.

The CDC recommends the flu shot for everyone six months of age and older. Here’s why getting a flu shot is more important than ever this year:

  • The flu vaccine prevents tens of thousands of hospitalizations each year.
  • You can get the flu and COVID-19 at the same time.
  • Getting vaccinated may also protect those around you.

As a BCBSRI member, you can get a flu shot at no cost at participating pharmacies, in-network doctors' offices, and Rhode Island flu clinics.* In addition to the flu shot, a nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in healthy non-pregnant individuals ages 2 to 49 years. People with certain medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine, so please check with your provider.

Please note that BCBSRI Medicare Advantage members can get their flu shot at any out-of-state pharmacy, even if it is not in the participating pharmacies list. Find out where to get a no-cost flu shot at bcbsri.com/flu

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there may be different procedures in place for getting your flu vaccine than in other years, so please check with the location. 

*This benefit is not available to Plan 65 members or members who only have dental coverage from BCBSRI.

As a BCBSRI member, you can get a flu shot at no cost at participating pharmacies, in-network doctors' offices, and Rhode Island flu clinics.* In addition to the flu shot, a nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use in healthy non-pregnant individuals ages 2 to 49 years. People with certain medical conditions should not receive the nasal spray flu vaccine, so please check with your provider.

Please note that BCBSRI Medicare Advantage members can get their flu shot at any out-of-state pharmacy, even if it is not in the participating pharmacies list. Find out where to get a no-cost flu shot at bcbsri.com/flu.

*This benefit is not available to Plan 65 members or members who only have dental coverage from BCBSRI.

Yes, the CDC has stated that you can receive both vaccines at the same time.

Because some symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Learn about the similarities and differences between the flu and COVID-19 on the CDC website. It is possible to have COVID-19 and the flu at the same time. BCBSRI members can find out where to get a no-cost flu shot at bcbsri.com/flu

 

*This benefit is not available to Plan 65 members or members who only have dental coverage from BCBSRI.