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The COVID-19 Vaccine & What You Need to Know

The COVID-19 Vaccine & What You Need to Know

February 16, 2021

With the recent release of the vaccines, we understand that you may have some questions. As such, we would like to provide you with support and information to help you navigate through this next chapter of the pandemic. The NYCDCC Welfare Fund, through Empire BlueCross BlueShield (“Empire”), Express Scripts, and UnitedHealthcare (“UHC”) for Medicare-Eligible Retirees, is committed to helping you stay healthy while giving you peace of mind.

Is the COVID-19 Vaccine covered?

YES. The vaccine will be covered at no cost to you or your family during this national public health emergency, regardless of where you receive the vaccine and whether you present your Empire, Express Scripts, or UHC card.

Things to Know about the COVID-19 Vaccine

According to government sources, including the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), a COVID-19 vaccination provides potential to be one of the safest ways people may be able to return to what they remember as normal. Learn how the NYCDCC Welfare Fund covers the vaccine and your vaccination, how health authorities are ensuring vaccine safety, and when the vaccine will be available by reading below.

  1. The COVID-19 vaccination may help keep you from getting COVID-19 or reduce symptoms of major, clinical COVID-19
    • It may not prevent a person from getting the coronavirus infection but studies to date have shown a significant decrease in likelihood of getting major, clinical COVID-19. 
    • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
    • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. Additionally, if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
  1. NYCDCC Welfare Fund participants will receive the COVID-19 vaccination at no cost.
    You and your dependents will be covered at no cost for the COVID-19 vaccine. You will not have out-of-pocket costs for the vaccine during this national public health emergency. This applies to all participants and dependents, regardless of which doctor or healthcare facility you choose to visit for the COVID-19 vaccination.
  1. The FDA has approved the vaccine on an Emergency Use Authorization basis.
    Researchers have studied vaccine reactions and potential side effects throughout the trials. The FDA’s emergency approval process for the vaccine included a review of all of the clinical trial data. The FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers will continuously monitor vaccine safety and quality. Currently, there are multiple vaccines available, of which two doses are required. A one dose vaccine is in the works as well.
  1. Distribution will take time.
    The CDC has recommended that healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and long-term-care facilities be the first Americans to receive the vaccine. The vaccination should be more widely available in mid-2021

If you have questions about coverage for the COVID-19 vaccine, you can contact:

  • Empire at (844) 416-6387 or by visiting their website at
  • Express Scripts at (800) 939-2091 or by visiting their website at
  • UHC (Medicare-Eligible Retirees Only) at (800) 457-8506 or by visiting their website at

Additionally, if you need assistance in finding a site that is giving vaccinations, you can utilize the resources below. Please note that site locations are dependent upon the city and state that you live in, and each of these areas have different applicable rules and requirements for receiving the vaccination.