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Hope is here — our best shot at ending the pandemic is vaccination

Great news! As a Moda Health member, you can get vaccinated for COVID-19 at no cost. It's important that we all get vaccinated as soon as we are able because vaccination is the best shot we have at putting an end to the pandemic.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted emergency use authorization for two vaccines so far. Both have been thoroughly tested and are 95% effective. Plus, scientists continue to research these vaccines to ensure they combat the variant COVID-19 viruses.

Same safety precautions. Speedier production.

How do we know the COVID-19 vaccines are safe? Developers of the two approved vaccines followed all steps the FDA normally requires for vaccine production. The only difference is that the COVID-19 vaccines were given priority review and moved to the front of the line. Get more facts about the approved vaccines.

And, additional vaccines are in development, some of which have more flexible storage requirements and can be given in just one shot. These modifications are important because the more easily vaccines can be transported and distributed, the more people all over the world will be able to get vaccinated. And, then the more quickly we can achieve herd immunity - a form of indirect protection from the virus. Even though herd immunity does not make a person immune, it does limit the virus' ability to easily jump from person to person and decreases outbreaks. Ultimately, it helps protect people who are still vulnerable to catching a virus.

The solution to pandemic fatigue is at hand.

The world has been enduring the pandemic for months, causing many people to fatigue from social distancing, wearing masks and distance learning. Getting vaccinated is the first step in putting an end to the pandemic.

Katie Scheelar, PharmD, and Moda Health's senior clinical program manager of pharmacy services said, "Many of us have felt powerless during this time. The vaccines give us a real, viable action step we can take to help not only our own lives, but the lives of others return to more normality. Of course, we will still need to wear masks and practice preventive measures as the community becomes vaccinated, but doing our individual part to get vaccinated when able takes us one step closer to ending the pandemic."

Do it for others.

Vaccinations not only protect the person who gets them, but they also help keep the virus from spreading to others. Scheelar said, "If you do not feel that you need the vaccine, then please get it for loved ones and others who may be at a higher risk and need your protection." Vaccines have greatly reduced infectious diseases that once regularly harmed or killed many infants, children, and adults. But the viruses or bacteria that cause vaccine-preventable diseases still exist and can be spread to people who are not protected by vaccines. Hence the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine, the flu vaccine, and any other immunizations recommended for you. You can find out what vaccines to get and when on the CDC's website or by contacting your healthcare provider.

Do it for yourself.

COVID-19 is a severe viral infection of which the medical community has not had enough time to fully research. We do not know why it affects some people differently than others. It is unpredictable. Even those who have had the virus do not know how it will affect them in the long run.

Take your shot.

Currently, the COVID-19 vaccines that are FDA authorized for emergency use are only available for certain groups, due to limited supply. But, as everyone is working to increase the vaccine availability to meet the demand, it's important that you are ready and willing when it's your turn to get vaccinated. "COVID-19 is a global pandemic that requires a global solution. That solution is vaccination," said Scheelar.

As more vaccines receive emergency use authorization by the FDA and become available, please know that the best COVID-19 vaccine is the one available to you first. Vaccination sites administer the vaccine they receive and have access to, all of which were authorized by the FDA and shown to work. Please contact your healthcare provider if you have any questions about the vaccine that's available for you.

See when you can get a COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more about your COVID-19 coverage with Moda Health.

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We have exciting news to share. ODS is changing its name to Moda Health.

Moda comes from the latin term "modus" and means "a way". We picked it because that's what we are here to do: help our communities find a way to better health.

Together, we can be more, be better.

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