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Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Still Be Free Once It's Available to the Public? Experts Say Yes

PopSugar logo PopSugar 2021-01-14 Dominique Michelle Astorino
a close up of a hand: Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Still Be Free Once It's Available to the Public? Experts Say Yes © Getty / Luis Alvarez Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Still Be Free Once It's Available to the Public? Experts Say Yes

All eyes are on the COVID-19 vaccine right now - when it'll be available, how to get it, and, of course, how much it will cost. After the confusing cluster that is COVID-19 testing in the US, will we face similar challenges in getting the vaccine? And, assuming you can eventually get the shot, do you need to worry about being handed a surprise bill? POPSUGAR spoke with experts to find out.

How Much Will the COVID-19 Vaccine Cost?

Short answer: probably $0. Ramzi Yacoub, PharmD, chief pharmacy officer at SingleCare, believes it should be relatively inexpensive for citizens to gain access to the coronavirus vaccine. "According to the Centers For Disease Control, the COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed to US citizens at no cost to the patient, since the vaccines were purchased with US taxpayer dollars," Dr. Yacoub told POPSUGAR via email. "Vaccination providers may charge a small administration fee for giving the shot, but this will likely be covered by the patient's insurance provider, or by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund if [the patient is] uninsured."

A representative at One Medical primary care group confirmed this to POPSUGAR as well: "According to Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a partnership between the US Department of Health and Human Services, including the CDC and the Department of Defense, the objective is to ensure that 'no one desiring vaccination will face an economic barrier to receiving one.'" This includes any out-of-pocket expenses for distribution or administration of the vaccine.


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President-elect Joe Biden has also made no-cost vaccinations a cornerstone of his plan to combat COVID-19, so there's no reason to believe that this will change anytime soon.

When Will You Be Eligible to Get the Vaccine?

Just how soon you'll receive a vaccine depends on a number of factors. The vaccine is being rolled out in phases, with the groups who are at greatest risk for the virus - such as healthcare workers and the elderly - being prioritized first. "In terms of when the vaccine will be widely available, it's really difficult to pinpoint, especially since each state is on a different timeline that depends on its vaccine supply," Dr. Yacoub said.

Tap local government and news sources for the latest information on the rollout, and as soon as you're eligible, find out how and where to secure your place in line. "The best way to find vaccination sites near you is to call your doctor, local pharmacy, or healthcare provider," Dr. Yacoub explained. "Once the vaccine is widely available to the public, you can also check resources like Vaccine Finder to find out where to get the vaccine near your home." If all goes according to plan, any American who wants the vaccine should be able to get it - for free - fairly early in 2021.

POPSUGAR aims to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information about the coronavirus, but details and recommendations about this pandemic may have changed since publication. For the latest information on COVID-19, please check out resources from the WHO, the CDC, and local public health departments.

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