What You Need To Know About COVID-19*

At CareMore, the health and wellbeing of you and your loved ones is our top priority. When you meet with one of our healthcare providers, whether virtually or in a care center, you can feel confident that they are taking every precaution to protect you from the virus that causes COVID-19, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other federal, state and local agencies.

Learn More About Flu and COVID-19 Vaccines for CareMore Patients

What is BA.2 and BA.2.12.1?

New subvariants of Omicron - known as BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 - are quickly becoming the dominant strains of COVID-19 in the United States. While easily spread, these subvariants have not shown to cause more severe illness or death. Other strains found internationally, BA.4 and BA.5, are being studied to determine what risks they pose.

Are vaccines effective against BA.2 and BA.2.12.1?

Absolutely! Studies show that individuals who are boosted have strong protection against severe disease, hospitalization, at similar rates to Omicron.

Do anti-COVID medicines work to combat BA.2 and BA.2.12.1?

  • Evushield, a long-acting monoclonal antibody for immunocompromised individuals is still effective but requires a higher dose.
  • Paxlovid, the oral anti-viral medicine, is also effective.
  • Unfortunately, sotrovimab, which was effective against Omicron, is not effective against BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, and has been removed from the market. However, a new monoclonal antibody, bebtelovimab, has received an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA, and is thought to be effective.

Is it too late to receive an initial COVID shot?

No, it's not too late to start your vaccine series. Everyone ages 5 and older is eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Who should get a booster shot?

Everyone who is eligible should get a booster dose as soon as possible. If you are considered immunocompromised, please see details in the below questions for your booster recommendations.

If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, you are eligible if:

  • It has been at least five months since your second dose.
  • You are 5 years or older and received the Pfizer vaccine.
  • You are 18 years or older and received the Moderna vaccine.

If you received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get a booster shot if:

  • You are 18 years or older.
  • And it has been at least two months since your initial single dose.

NOTE: The CDC advises you get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for your booster shot.

*Who is eligible for a second booster?

The CDC recommends that all eligible individuals should receive two booster doses, for which there is extensive evidence that they are safe and effective in reducing severe disease, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19:

  • People 12 and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised.
  • Adults ages 50 and older.
  • People who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for their first vaccine and booster.

For all of the groups listed above, at least 4 months must have passed since their first booster before they can get their second.

What evidence supports getting a second booster?

Data from Israel shows that adults over 60 who got a fourth shot were 78% less likely to die of COVID-19 than those who got only 3 shots. While this evidence is powerful, it does not meet the CDC or FDA's gold standard evidence, as it was not gleaned from a randomized clinical trial, and thus may be subject to some bias. For instance, the study could not rule out that individuals who received a second booster dose were more likely to live healthier lives or more likely to wear masks, compared to those who only received a single booster dose.

Laboratory evidence shows that antibody levels wane over time, and that antibody levels following a fourth dose returned to the level that were initially achieved after having received a third dose.

What is the difference between a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and a booster shot?

A third dose is critically necessary for people with weakened immune systems. Without it, they are not considered fully vaccinated because they may not develop the same level of protection as with the initial two doses. A booster shot helps the general population maintain protection against COVID-19, since the effectiveness of the vaccine is shown to decrease over time. The CDC also recommends immunocompromised people ages 12 and older receive a booster shot after their third dose. Adults ages 18 years and older who are moderately or severely immunocompromised can choose to receive a 2nd booster (5th dose) of an mRNA vaccine at least 4 months after their first booster.

Who should get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine?

It is recommended that immunocompromised people ages 12 and older get a total of four doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. The four doses include three doses of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, plus one booster shot at least three months after your third dose. For immunocompromised people 12 and older who initially received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the CDC recommends you also get one Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and follow up with a booster (for those 12 and older) shot at least two months later.

We strongly recommend that people 5 and older who are moderately to severely immunocompromised get a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, followed by a booster for a total of four doses. You're eligible if you received a second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least 28 days ago and if you:

  • Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency, like DiGeorge syndrome and Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.
  • Have an advanced or untreated HIV infection.
  • Are being treated for cancerous tumors or cancers of the blood.
  • Received an organ or stem cell transplant within the last two years and are taking medicine to suppress your immune system.
  • Are taking high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response.

Can I mix and match the COVID-19 vaccines?

Yes. It’s okay if your booster shot is a different vaccine type than your initial doses – unless you are immunocompromised. In this instance, your third dose should be the same as your previous ones.

For Example:

  • If you received Pfizer for your first two vaccines, you can get either Pfizer or Moderna, 6 months after your second dose.
  • If you received Moderna for your first two vaccines, you can get either Moderna or Pfizer, 6 months after your second dose.
  • If you received the J&J vaccine, you should get either J&J, Pfizer or Moderna, 2 months after your first dose. Receiving Pfizer or Moderna booster vaccine is highly recommended.
  • If you have a weakened immune system and received Pfizer or Moderna for the first two doses, you should get the same for your third dose 28 days after your second dose.

Are doses the same for boosters as they are for the initial vaccine?

Both Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson booster shots are the same dose as their initial vaccines. The Moderna booster is half the dose of its first two shots, although immunocompromised individuals will be administered a third full dose of the vaccine.

Do I need to receive a booster shot to be considered fully vaccinated?

No. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, a booster shot will help extend your protection since effectiveness of the vaccine decreases over time.

Can you get a COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as another vaccine, such as the flu shot?

Yes. If you plan to get more than one vaccine during a single visit, they should be administered in different injection sites.

If I get the vaccine, can I still get COVID-19?

People with conditions that weaken the immune system are more likely to get COVID-19 after vaccination, also known as a breakthrough infection. However, getting the shot will decrease your chances of contracting COVID-19 and having serious symptoms that may require hospitalization. The virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV2, continues to mutate and some strains can outsmart some of our defenses. It remains very important to continue to wear a mask in public settings and to follow local public health guidelines.

Can I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine at a CareMore Care Center?

Yes, some select Care Centers are vaccinating patients at the clinic. You can get your initial two COVID-19 vaccine doses, a third dose, or a booster shot (if you’re eligible) during your visit at a CareMore Care Center while vaccine supplies last. Reach out to your Care Center to schedule an appointment.

If You Have Symptoms

If you feel sick, have a fever, cough, or a hard time breathing, please contact you can contact your local CareMore Care Center. You can also call CareMore Anytime at 1-800-589-3148.

Our Safety Measures

  • Care Center visitors are required to wear a mask correctly (over nose and mouth) at all times. If you don't have a mask, one will be provided to you.
  • New air filters and plexiglass dividers at all CareMore Care Centers.
  • Clinicians and staff use the required personal protective equipment including, but not limited to, face masks, gloves, and gowns.
  • Social distancing is strictly observed, and waiting room seating has been reconfigured to allow ample room between chairs.

An appointment is recommended before you come to a Care Center, because we monitor patient traffic to help keep you safe. Please call your local Care Center to make an appointment today. Keeping up with your regular visits, health screenings, and getting an annual flu shot are important to keeping you feeling your very best.

Stress, Anxiety and COVID-19

  • Take actions to lower your risk of exposure - Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before touching your eyes, nose and mouth; disinfect your home and work area.
  • Make healthy choices - Eat nutritious food, exercise, limit alcohol consumption, and make sleep a priority.
  • Stay connected with family and friends via phone or video chats so you’re not socially isolated.
  • Get informed by learning the facts - The news isn’t always accurate, so be sure to get your information from the CDC and the World Health Organization.

We’re always here for you. For health-related questions or concerns, including help with food access, call CareMore Anytime 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-589-3148.

Protect Yourself

The CDC is a trusted source for up-to-the-minute news and guidance about COVID-19. Helpful links to key information include:

Symptoms and testing

What to do if you are sick

COVID-19 Frequently asked questions

How to protect yourself and others

Are you at higher risk for severe illness?

 

* This information is current as of the date of publication. Because CDC guidelines are frequently changing, visit cdc.gov for the latest updates or talk with your healthcare provider.