BATON ROUGE, La. – Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) issued COVID-19 booster shot recommendations for people who got the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. State health officials announced expanded availability of booster doses in Louisiana for people who got either of these two vaccines and meet the eligibility criteria. State and federal health officials issued a booster recommendation for people who got the Pfizer vaccine last month.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana covers the COVID-19 booster shot at $0 out of pocket for eligible members of individual and employer health plans. Eligible members of Medicare and Medicaid plans or uninsured patients also can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine at no cost. This no-cost coverage is required by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. If you have questions about vaccine coverage on your health plan, contact Customer Service at the number on your member ID card.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation is sponsoring free ride programs for COVID-19 vaccine and booster appointments statewide. Many community organizations offer similar programs. If you do not have a vehicle, are unable to drive or have other barriers to getting your COVID-19 vaccine, call 211 to get connected to programs in your area.
Who Should Get a COVID-19 Booster
Booster recommendations depend on which type of COVID-19 vaccine you got for your original shot – the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
For those who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, a second booster dose is recommended for anyone 18 and older who got the first vaccine two months or longer ago.
For those who got the second dose of their Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines six months or longer ago, boosters are recommended if you:
• Are 65 or older
• Are 18 or older and have a health condition that puts you at high risk for severe COVID-19
• Are 18 or older and live or work in places that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure
In August, federal and state health officials also recommended the COVID-19 vaccine booster for people who had already gotten two doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and who have certain health conditions that affect their immunity.
This includes people who:
• Are going through cancer treatment
• Had an organ transplant or stem cell transplant and are taking medicine to suppress their immune systems
• Have HIV or other immune-suppressing health conditions
• Take certain types of prescription drugs that could lower their immunity
Federal health officials have advised that if you qualify for a COVID-19 booster, you can choose which vaccine type you get. You can stick with the same type of shot as your original vaccine or get a different shot for your booster. If you are not sure whether you should get a COVID-19 booster shot or which type of vaccine is best for you, ask your healthcare provider for guidance.
The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are continuing to study data on the COVID-19 vaccines and may soon issue broader booster recommendations that include more groups of people. Visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s website, www.ldh.la.gov, to see the latest updates and information about the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including boosters.
Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine or Booster
Health officials recommend everyone age 12 and older gets the COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccines are safe and effective at preventing death, hospitalization or severe illness from COVID-19. If you have not gotten your first COVID-19 vaccine yet, make plans to do so as soon as possible. If you have questions or concerns, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for more information.
You can call the State of Louisiana’s Vaccine Hotline at 1-855-453-0774 for help scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot appointment. The hotline staff can help you find vaccine locations near you or connect you with clinicians who can answer your vaccine questions. Or, visit the Louisiana Department of Health’s website to see a list of vaccine locations.
You can search by parish to find a vaccine site near you, and you can see which types of vaccine are being given at different locations. State health officials recommend that if you are getting a booster vaccine, you make an appointment to be sure the site has enough supply of your vaccine type to give you a booster shot.
Visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana YouTube channel to see short videos on the COVID-19 vaccines and other health topics. Subscribe to know when new videos are added. You can connect with Blue Cross on social media for regular updates. Blue Cross posts regularly on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and now, TikTok.
For information on what Blue Cross is doing in response to COVID-19, visit www.bcbsla.com/covid19.
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is committed to our mission to improve the health and lives of Louisianians. Founded in New Orleans in 1934, we are a tax-paying nonprofit health insurer with offices in every major region to serve our customers. We were recognized in 2019 and 2020 as an honoree of The Civic 50, named by Points of Light as one of the 50 most community-minded companies in the United States.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We are a private mutual company, owned by our policyholders, with an independent Louisiana Board of Directors and no shareholders. We invite all Louisianians to visit our website at www.bcbsla.com or talk to us on social media.