What Will a Coronavirus Vaccine Cost You?

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Don't fall victim to a vaccine trap. Find out what you should expect to pay.

After months of living in pandemic lockdown, there may be a bit of light at the end of the very long, dark tunnel. Coronavirus vaccines are finally becoming a little more available to the public. Availability varies by state, and currently hinges primarily on factors such as being an essential or healthcare worker, being older, or having an underlying health condition. By spring, it's conceivable that a large chunk of the U.S. population will be eligible to make a vaccine appointment.

But how much should you expect to pay for a vaccine? The answer might surprise you -- in a good way.

What you need to know about paying for a coronavirus vaccine

Let's get the good news out of the way: A coronavirus vaccine should not cost you a dime. You won't have to touch your bank account to get protection against COVID-19, because the government is making doses free to everyone, including seniors on Medicare.

That said, some people may end up paying because they fall victim to a scam. And that, of course, is a scenario you want to avoid.

So how do you know you're being taken for a ride? Basically, if you're asked to provide payment for anything related to scheduling your vaccination, consider it a red flag.

For example, some scammers are contacting people through email, phone, or text and telling them they can get early access to a vaccine -- if they pay a fee. Don't do it. If you register for a vaccine through your state, an official source will contact you when it's your turn to get an appointment, and you won't have to pay for it.

Similarly, scammers are telling people they have to put down a deposit to get on a waiting list. Again, that's not something you have to pay for. Many states have online registration systems where you can submit your information and get in line, so to speak. But those systems won't ask for a credit card number or any other sort of payment.

Finally, scammers are claiming they can ship doses to people's homes, where they can then vaccinate themselves. This is so illegitimate it's not funny. There are no other vaccines on the market you can order and administer yourself, so why would the new coronavirus vaccine (which, incidentally, has strict cold-storage requirements) be any different?

The takeaway? You shouldn't have to pay to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and anyone who claims you do is trying to take your money.

That said, some vaccine providers may charge an administration fee for giving you your shot. But if that happens, you have options. You can get reimbursed for that fee through your health insurance company, or, if you're uninsured, request reimbursement through the Health Resources and Services Administration's Provider Relief Fund. You can't be turned away from an appointment if you're unable to pay the fee up front.

If you are targeted by a coronavirus vaccine scam, there are several ways to report it:

The Federal Trade Commission

The FBI's tipline

The Department of Health and Human Services

The Better Business Bureau

It's a good idea not to keep it to yourself if a scammer targets you, because while you may be savvy enough to not fall victim, others may be more vulnerable. Reporting a scam could spare someone else from losing money.

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