FAQ: What it takes to qualify for COVID-19 vaccine

FAQ: What it takes to qualify for COVID-19 vaccine

ABC57 viewers have had questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and our ABC57 Investigates team is getting answers. 

On the surface, it might seem simple as to who is eligible to get vaccinated. 

In Indiana: 

  • First Responders 
  • Healthcare workers 
  • Educators 
  • People 50 or older 

In Michigan: 

  • People 50 or older 
  • Caregivers of children with special health needs 
  • Frontline workers 
  • Essential healthcare workers 
  • School and child care staff 
  • Corrections workers 
  • Agriculture, Food processing workers 

With confusion about eligibility, ABC57 Investigates answered three frequently asked questions: 

  • Can you get the vaccine if the age group falls within four months of your birthdate in Indiana? 
  • If you work in Indiana, but live in Michigan—can you get your vaccine shot in the Hoosier state? 
  • Why do you need to present an insurance card if the vaccine is free? 

“If your birthday is within four months of the cutoff period, you should be able to log in to the system, put in your date of birth and it should accept it and allow you to sign up for your COVID-19 vaccine,” Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait said. 

“There’s no rhyme or reason at all,” St. Joseph County Health Officer Dr. Robert Einterz said. “It’s just how the Zotec system was set up and so it’s a quirk, if you will, of the electronic registration system and it’s nothing that we have any control over.”  

People who work in Indiana, but live in Michigan are no longer able to get the vaccine in Indiana, according to Einterz. 

 "Indiana gets its vaccines based on the population of Indiana, so if the individuals coming from Michigan or Illinois or Ohio or Kentucky are coming into our state, it means that much less vaccines for our residents,” Einterz said. 

Presenting an insurance card is more of a process, than an expectation to get a bill, according to Wait. 

 “We do bill your insurance company and we do not bill for the vaccine itself, but we do bill to actually administer the vaccine to you,” Wait said. “So yes, your insurance company is billed, but you should not get a bill. That should be covered 100%.”  

“This charge cannot be passed onto the individual, but it is a way to defray the cost of the vaccine to you and me, the taxpayer,” Einterz said. 

The site where a person receives a vaccine can then apply to get those dollars from administering the vaccine, according to Wait. Wait said that process is handled through the state and the money should never come out of a patient’s pocket. 

“We haven’t seen any of those dollars yet,” Wait said. “We don’t know when we’ll see any of those dollars or frankly if we’ll end up seeing any of those dollars, so that’s strictly coming from the state level, and then they would distribute it to the appropriate people then at that point.” 

Einterz said the vaccine qualifications are constantly changing and changes could come as early as this week. 

The next milestone in Michigan is March 22; that is when people 16 or older with pre-existing conditions will be eligible for the vaccine. 

If you have questions about COVID-19 or the vaccine, please send an email to 57investigates@abc57.com. 

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