Monitoring Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio

OhioHealthy is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the United States and its presence in Ohio. We have enacted our robust emergency management protocols and our dedicated team is on standby to monitor and follow COVID-19 closely.

coronavirus cell under a microscope

What OhioHealthy benefits will cover

Effective immediately, OhioHealthy will waive out-of-pocket member costs associated with:

  • COVID-19 diagnostic testing
  • COVID-19 vaccine

Telehealth coverage varies by group and may cease at any time. This includes virtual visits to your PCP, established specialists and telemedicine providers. Before seeking telehealth care, please call a Member Advocate at the number listed on your ID card to determine your cost-share amount.

child washing hands

What to do if you have symptoms

If you or your family members are experiencing symptoms and think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, please call your primary care physician.

COVID-19 Delta Variant Information

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  • What is the Delta variant and where did it come from?

    The Delta variant is a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, first identified in India in December 2020. The first Delta case in the United States was diagnosed in March 2021 and it is now the dominant strain in the U.S. This variant seems to spread more easily and quickly than other variants, which may lead to more cases of COVID-19.

  • How effective are our current vaccines against the Delta variant?

    Based on lab in vitro studies, it appears that two doses of the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer (now known as Comirnaty) and Moderna provide approximately 90% effectiveness against the Delta variant. We do not yet have that information for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Information

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  • What information is there about the COVID-19 vaccines?

    Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)

    On August 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the Pfizer/BioNTech (now known as Comirnaty) vaccine was the first to receive full FDA approval for the prevention of COVID-19 in people 16 and older. The Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine continues to be available under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years of age, for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, and for boosters for the general public.

    The Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine is roughly 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. This vaccine requires two doses, the initial dose and a repeat vaccination three or four weeks later.


    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older. The Moderna vaccine is roughly 94% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections. This vaccine requires two doses, the initial dose and a repeat vaccination three or four weeks later. The Moderna vaccine has also been approved for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.

    Johnson and Johnson (Janssen)

    A single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) has been approved for emergency use authorization for individuals 18 years of age and older. This vaccine is roughly 66% effective in preventing symptoms of COVID-19 infections.

  • How does the vaccine work?

    The vaccine offers immunity by activating antibodies to fight the virus in your immune system so that if you’re exposed, your body can fight the virus before you get sick. Although the vaccine is not expected to provide full immunity, it is the most effective way to avoid contracting COVID-19 or minimizing symptoms if you do contract COVID-19.

  • What side effects are associated with the vaccines?

    There is a remote chance that vaccines could cause a severe allergic reaction. This would likely occur within an hour of receiving the vaccine.

    Mild symptoms like muscle pain at the injection site, low-grade fever and/or headache have been reported over the first few days after vaccination. Long-term side effects from vaccines are rare. Most side effects are expected to occur within the first six weeks of a vaccine. The clinical trials will follow vaccine participants for two years, which will give us more information about long-term side effects in the future.

    You will not get COVID-19 from the vaccine. None of the vaccines currently in development use the live virus that caused COVID-19. Using new vaccine technology (mRNA) found in the Pfizer (Comirnaty) and Moderna vaccines, the COVID-19 vaccine will teach our own immune system to recognize and fight off the virus that causes COVID-19, protecting ourselves from sickness.

  • How will OhioHealthy cover vaccinations?

    All COVID-19 vaccine doses will be free for members. There is a significant effort to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed equitably throughout all communities and those at the highest risk will have the opportunity to receive a vaccine.

  • Can I get the vaccine?

    To determine if you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, use the Ohio Department of Health’s Vaccine Management Solution. If eligible, you can also use this tool to schedule your vaccine appointment.

    COVID-19 vaccine appointments and walk-in vaccinations are also available at designated OhioHealth vaccine clinics and some OhioHealth Physician Group Primary Care physician offices. OhioHealth hospitals, emergency departments and urgent care locations are not providing COVID-19 vaccines to the public.

  • Why did the pause end for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommended the vaccine resume on April 23, 2021. Their review showed that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks. Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen.

    The pause also gave experts time to carefully review all available data and conduct a risk-benefit analysis around the use of this vaccine. If you have already received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, please contact your primary care physician (PCP) with any questions.

  • When is immunity from COVID-19 achieved once vaccinated?

    If you receive a Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna vaccine, you must take two doses. Full immunity (up to 95% effectiveness) will be achieved 14 days after your second dose.

    If you receive a Johnson & Johnson vaccine, full immunity (up to 66% effectiveness) will be achieved 14 days after you get the vaccine.

    We are still learning how well the vaccines prevent the spread of COVID-19 and how long protection from the vaccine lasts. After you are vaccinated, it is important that you continue to wear a mask per CDC guidelines, watch your distance and wash your hands often until we can get more people vaccinated.

  • Who needs an additional COVID-19 vaccine?

    The Centers for Disease Control announced August 13 that certain immunocompromised patients who are more than 28 days past their second dose of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are now eligible to receive a third dose of the same vaccine. This includes people who have:

    • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
    • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
    • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
    • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
    • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
    • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response

    People should talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose of the vaccine is appropriate for them.

    OhioHealth is offering third doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) vaccine to eligible immunocompromised patients at walk-in clinics. OhioHealth does not have the Moderna vaccine. Additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are not currently recommended. For more information on eligibility criteria, a vaccine location search, and answers to frequently asked questions, please visit the CDC website.

    Although news reports suggest that booster doses may soon be recommended for the general public, OhioHealth can only administer additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to immunocompromised patients at this time.

  • When can I get a COVID-19 booster?

    Health officials are preparing to roll out COVID-19 booster shots for the general public once FDA approval is received. All adults who received a two-dose mRNA vaccine from Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna would be eligible for a booster shot eight months from their second dose. For more information, visit the CDC website.

  • If I’ve already had COVID-19, do I still need to be vaccinated?

    It is not known how long natural immunity from COVID-19 infection lasts. Because of the severe health risks of COVID-19, you may be advised to get a vaccine even if you’ve recovered from COVID-19.

  • Are there any reasons someone should not get the COVID-19 vaccine?

    • People under 12 should not receive COVID-19 vaccines because they are still being studied to determine the proper application for children.
    • People with serious allergic reactions, such as anaphylaxis, should discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with their doctor before receiving it.
    • Patients who have received monoclonal antibody infusions for COVID-19 should wait 90 days before receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
    • People who have a short-term illness, such as strep throat or a cold, should wait to get the vaccine until they’re feeling better.
  • Where can I learn more information about the COVID-19 vaccine?

    OhioHealthy is actively monitoring the situation and will provide more detailed information as it becomes available. You may also visit the Ohio Department of Health and CDC websites for more information.

Additional COVID-19 Information

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  • What is the novel coronavirus (COVID-19)?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. COVID-19 symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus.

    People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:

    • Fever or chills
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    • Fatigue
    • Chills
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headache
    • New loss of taste or smell
    • Sore throat
    • Congestion or runny nose
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Diarrhea
  • Is there anything I can do to prevent the spread of the virus?

    The best way to prevent the illness is to avoid exposure:

    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue, which you should discard in the trash.
    • Stay home when you are sick.
    • Use an approved telehealth option or see your doctor if you think you are ill.
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • What should I do if I think I or a family member is infected?

    If you are experiencing symptoms and think you have been exposed to COVID-19, the health plan has resources in place to help answer questions and assess your medical condition.

    • Primary care physician (PCP): call by phone before going in

      This should be your first point of contact if you have a PCP who you regularly see.

    • OhioHealthy 24/7 Nurse Advice Line: 1-844-834-4375

      This is a free service to health plan members and is available 24/7.

    • MDLIVE®: 1-888-912-1987
  • What will OhioHealthy cover during the COVID-19 public health emergency?

    In order to help remove barriers to care and provide safe options for our members, OhioHealthy will cover the following in full:

    • Out-of-pocket member costs associated with COVID-19 diagnostic testing.
    • COVID-19 vaccine - The vaccine is considered a preventive benefit under the Affordable Care Act, and therefore will be covered in full for all members.

    Telehealth coverage varies by group and may cease at any time. This includes virtual visits to your PCP, established specialists and telemedicine providers. Before seeking telehealth care, please call a Member Advocate at the number listed on your ID card to determine your cost-share amount.

  • Does the handling of the COVID-19 virus screening affect my Health Savings Account (HSA) eligibility?

    OhioHealthy is handling the COVID-19 testing as a preventive care for infectious diseases screening. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code provides a safe harbor that lets HSA-qualified high deductible health plans (HDHPs) waive deductibles for preventive care benefits without jeopardizing a participant’s HSA-eligibility. IRS transition relief also allows for COVID-19 treatment and testing to be covered before deductible on HSA qualified plans.

  • Where can I get more information or updates about COVID-19?

    For more information, please visit the CDC website.

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