COVID-19 vaccines spread hope as Cigna helps spread the word

Cigna welcomes and encourages the use of available COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to manufacturer-reported data and FDA evaluation, all three vaccines currently in use in the U.S. – manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, respectively – are highly effective at preventing COVID-19-related severe infections and death. We also now have booster recommendations for adults for all three COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the CDC, individuals who completed their initial shots may choose which vaccine they want administered as their booster dose. Scientific studies show that all the booster shots offer a strong antibody dose, no matter what the combination.

Children ages 5 and up also have the option to get vaccinated

For children ages 5-11, the FDA has also now authorized—and the CDC has recommended—the use of the Pfizer vaccine. The FDA granted this emergency use authorization based on the totality of scientific evidence available including an effectiveness study of approximately 4,700 children in the U.S., Finland, Poland and Spain. The vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective at preventing symptomatic disease. The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children age 5 through 11 who received the vaccine and no serious side effects were detected in the ongoing study as of October 2021. The Pfizer vaccine for use in children, ages 5-11, is one-third the adult dose and given in two doses, three weeks apart. The lower dose was chosen to minimize side effects and still produce strong immunity, Pfizer says.

For children ages 12-15, the FDA approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine in May 2021. Moderna submitted a request for emergency use of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine for those ages 12-17, and it is under review.

The two-dose COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech, now branded Comirnaty, became the first to gain full U.S. FDA approval for individuals ages 16 and older back in August 2021. On August 25, Moderna announced it completed its submission to the FDA to request full approval for its COVID-19 vaccine - for people ages 18 and older. The clinical trials and the FDA’s review for emergency use authorization, and subsequent full approvals, continue to follow the same scientific, thorough safety and efficacy measures as any other vaccine in use today.

We continue working together to respond to the COVID crisis

“Together, industry and government have responded to this crisis with unprecedented speed, while also safeguarding public health and safety,” said Cigna Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Steve Miller. “I’m often asked if these vaccines should be trusted. And my answer is ‘Yes.’ I personally participated in one of the clinical trials, understand the FDA’s thorough evaluation process, and appreciate the public openness of drug companies and the FDA.”

Any FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine is covered as a preventive service. As such, customer out-of-pocket cost for the COVID-19 vaccine will be $0. The vaccine provider may charge Cigna an administrative fee, but customers will not have to pay anything during the public health emergency period.

While cost is no longer a barrier and availability continues to improve, access to the vaccine is vastly different for many Americans. Health equity remains a persistent challenge. Cigna has recognized and worked to address health disparities for years, including those around vaccination. Most recently with COVID-19, Cigna joined up with America’s Health Insurance Plans’ Vaccine Community Connectors pilot initiative. This collaboration is helping drive health equity and remove barriers to assist millions of seniors 65+ in underserved communities to get vaccinated. After all, we can only achieve herd immunity and overcome this pandemic together.

We have a long way still to go before we can say the pandemic is truly over. So, it’s important to remain vigilant. Even after getting fully-vaccinated, efforts at prevention remain essential – washing hands, wearing masks, physical distancing, per the guidance provided by local health authorities nationwide, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization. Do it for yourself, your family, and those around you who may not be vaccinated yet.

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Content is for informational purposes only, based on current information, and subject to change. Please follow official guidance provided by local health authorities and government officials when developing reopening plans to meet the unique needs and characteristics of each location and workforce population.

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