COVID-19 Resource Center
Have symptoms or concerns about COVID-19? Our physicians are here to help. Whether you’re looking for answers to questions, guidance on next steps or peace of mind, get text-based care 24/7 from the safety and comfort of home. Download the 98point6 app to sign up and start a visit.
We're keeping you informed
- The FDA recently announced the full approval of the Pfizer vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals ages 16+. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA) for children and teens ages 12–15 and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals.
- The highly transmissible Delta variant has become the dominant viral strain around the globe with a surge in COVID-19 cases, especially amongst the unvaccinated. The Delta variant is more contagious than previous variants. Vaccination is still the best protection against the Delta variant, both in terms of preventing illness and in keeping an infection from becoming severe when it does break through. The CDC has information on the variants and ways to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- For the latest guidance and reassurance on vaccine safety, side effects and more, check out our Vaccine FAQs.
The Benefits of COVID-19 Vaccination
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and a critical tool to end the pandemic. Not only will getting vaccinated help prevent you from getting seriously ill or suffering complications from COVID-19-related illness, it enables you to cautiously resume some activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Click here to better understand why the CDC encourages widespread vaccination.
Learn more about cold, flu and COVID-19
Evidence indicates that this year’s rates of upper respiratory illness, including cold and flu, will likely be higher than last. As we head into the winter season, stay informed so you can effectively protect yourself and your family and take charge quickly when and if symptoms arise. To learn more, see our Cold, Flu, and COVID-19 resource page.
Been vaccinated in the last 6 weeks?
Sign up for V-safe—your participation helps ensure COVID-19 vaccine safety for everyone.
- V-safe is a vaccine safety monitoring system used by the CDC to better understand how individuals like you are reacting to the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Personalized health check-ins are done via text messaging and web-based surveys right from your smartphone, so you can immediately share critical data around side effects and adverse events. Someone from the CDC may contact you to get additional information.
- The V-safe system helped in identifying the Johnson & Johnson blood clot safety signal, as well as the mRNA myocarditis/pericarditis issue.
Brad Younggren, MD
98point6 Chief Medical Officer
Why virtual care?
Virtual care is one of the most impactful tools available in the fight against COVID-19, and we’re as dedicated as ever to providing the diagnosis, treatment and reassurance you need from home. Text-based care allows us to evaluate symptoms without you risking exposure—or potentially passing the illness to others—helping to prevent further spread of the virus.
Frequently asked questions about coronavirus
How do I know the vaccines are safe?
Vaccine trials generally last many months to ensure that they are safe. We know, from decades of testing vaccines, that any serious side effects, which are rare, typically occur soon after the vaccine is given, and not months later. The trials are monitored by an independent team of experts. If this independent data and the safety monitoring board find the vaccine to be safe, it then goes through two more layers of scrutiny (Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) before being authorized for use in humans. In short, the path to vaccine approval is complex, multilayered and errs on the side of patient safety. Although we are in unprecedented times, you should rest assured that regulatory and scientific bodies (such as the CDC and FDA) are taking every possible precaution to ensure that any vaccine that you receive is both safe and effective. While some rare side-effects have occurred with the authorized COVID-19 vaccines and are understandably concerning, they also demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccine safety is important and the FDA takes reports of adverse effects seriously so they can make their most informed, timely decision. The FDA and the CDC continue to ensure that the safety and benefits of all COVID-19 vaccines far outweigh the associated risks.
How can I get vaccinated?
Your local health department determines how vaccines are distributed. Click here to select your state or territory via the CDC; you’ll get routed to the appropriate website where you can find relevant resources, answer questions about eligibility and pre-register to reserve a spot to get a vaccine.
What is the difference between each of the vaccines?
The first two vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are made using mRNA technology that requires two shots 3–4 weeks apart. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is our first one-shot option. Despite different makeups and criteria around storage, these vaccines all work in the same way: teaching your immune system to protect you against COVID-19 by making an antibody to the spike protein on the surface of the virus. Think of the COVID-19 spike protein as a key that unlocks a door on your healthy cells, allowing the virus to enter. Once you make an antibody to the spike protein (with the help of the vaccine), the shape of the key changes and the virus will not be able to enter your cells and make you sick.
Which vaccine should I get?
The short answer is that you should take the first vaccine that becomes available to you. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been shown to reduce severe disease from COVID-19 in about 90–95% of people. The single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been shown to protect about 85% percent from severe disease. Regardless of these percentages, the most important takeaway is that all three of these vaccines are highly effective in rendering COVID-19 into milder cases. In other words, even at an estimated 85% overall effectiveness, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is just as good as Moderna and Pfizer vaccines at preventing the kind of serious illness that leads to hospitalization or death.
I had COVID-19. Do I need to get vaccinated?
Yes, according to recommendations from the CDC, since there are still unknowns around re-infection (especially with the Delta variant) and how long immunity lasts. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, however, speak to your healthcare provider, as some timing restrictions exist.
What side effects might I expect?
The most common reactions reported for all 3 approved vaccines are fever, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and pain at the injection site. One thing to note, the symptoms seem to be more significant after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, although some people just feel tired for a day or two and others have no side effects at all.
Should I “pre-medicate” with pain relievers prior to receiving my vaccine?
No. Some evidence has indicated that the use of anti-inflammatories may interfere with the body’s immune response. While there is no definitive conclusion, experts recommend avoiding acetaminophen and NSAIDs prior to vaccination to ensure maximum immune response and vaccine effectiveness.
I have heard reports of deaths linked to the vaccine. Is this true?
CDC and FDA physicians have reviewed more than 6,000 U.S. post-vaccination deaths reported among the more than 346 million COVID-19 vaccinations. There is no pattern in these deaths that would suggest a safety issue with the vaccines. Recent deaths that involved clotting after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine are still under investigation and while the risk of blood clots and low platelets in women ages 18–50 is very rare, it is recommended that those patients consider an alternative vaccine.
You may have heard reports of deaths in other countries occurring post-vaccination. While a very small number of these deaths has been linked to vaccination, investigations have not identified any patterns.
The CDC and FDA continue to monitor adverse event reports to detect any safety signals associated with vaccine administration.
Under what circumstances, post-vaccination, should I contact a doctor?
You should reach out to a healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:
- High fever that does not respond to acetaminophen
- Red, warm rash at the injection site
- Any symptom that is concerning to you
If you received the J&J vaccine and experience any of the following within 3-6 weeks, start a new visit with 98point6 or get seen right away in an urgent care or emergency room.
- Bad headache
- Stomach pain
- Leg pain
- Shortness of breath
- Abnormal bruising or bleeding
- Trouble speaking
- Blurry vision
Can my child be vaccinated?
The Pfizer vaccine is currently approved for use in patients ages 12+. Click here for the CDC’s guide to finding a vaccine near you.
Other vaccine manufacturers, such as Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, are still conducting clinical trials to ensure vaccine safety and efficacy in children ages 17 and under. These trials have been expanded to ensure the detection of safety signals in children under 12. It is likely that widespread vaccination among children ages 11 and under will not begin until late 2021.
I’m fully vaccinated. What can I safely do?
The CDC has recently updated public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals. This guidance applies to people two weeks after receiving either both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two weeks ago.
Visit this webpage from the CDC frequently for the latest public health recommendations around masking, physical distancing and COVID-19 testing for fully vaccinated people.
What is the latest on the J&J vaccine? Is it safe and approved?
More than 13 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been given in the U.S. The CDC and FDA have reviewed cases of blood clots in individuals after getting the vaccine. In the blood clotting cases, the blood clotting was seen with low levels of blood platelets. These were in women 18 years of age and older, and symptoms occurred 6–15 days after vaccination.
On April 23, 2021 the CDC advisory committee on immunization practices (ACIP) met and lifted the temporary pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The CDC presented significant evidence that the benefits of using this vaccine far outweigh the risks of rare, serious adverse events. The FDA has required Johnson & Johnson to add a warning to the vaccine information describing the clotting risks and the CDC encourages that alternative vaccines (i.e., Pfizer or Moderna) should be considered in women 18+ who are at potentially higher risk for the very rare development of blood clots.
There also appears to be an increased risk of developing a rare neurologic condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome in people who received the J&J vaccine. This condition can cause muscle weakness, tingling/numbness, blurry vision and trouble speaking. The CDC reviewed these data on July 22, 2021 and concluded the safety and benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the very low risk of developing this condition.
If you have concerns about receiving the J&J vaccine, please start a visit with 98point6 or contact your healthcare provider.
I received the J&J vaccine. Should I be concerned and what should I look out for?
Right now, these reported side effects seem to be extremely rare. However, if you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and then get a bad headache, stomach pain, leg pain, leg weakness, trouble speaking, numbness/tingling in the extremities, blurry vision, or shortness of breath within six weeks after the vaccine, please start a new visit with 98point6 at any time of day or night, or get seen right away in an urgent care or an emergency room.
I’m young and healthy. Why do I need to get a vaccine?
Not only will vaccination help keep you from getting COVID-19 or experiencing serious, life-threatening complications from the virus, widespread vaccination is key to ending the pandemic. After you are fully vaccinated for COVID-19, you can also return to some activities that you stopped doing, such as gathering indoors with friends without masks or physical distancing and traveling within the U.S. without testing or self-quarantining. Click here for the CDC’s complete guide to the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
Who is eligible for a third/booster shot?
Currently, only certain populations that have specific conditions that put them at risk of severe disease due to their level of vulnerability. This includes certain immunocompromised individuals, specifically, solid organ transplant recipients or those who are diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise. For individuals without immunodeficiency meeting these criteria who are fully vaccinated, there is no determination at this time that a booster vaccine is necessary for adequate protection. If you are immunocompromised, you should discuss with your provider whether you are eligible and would benefit from a booster.
Who is at risk for serious illness from COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults of increasing age and people who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes and lung disease have a higher risk of developing complications from this illness.
Outside this high-risk group, a complete recovery is likely, although reports of complications in a subset of COVID-19 patients include Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in children, as well as respiratory, neurological, kidney and vascular effects on adults. Also bear in mind that people of all ages and levels of risk can transmit the infection and increase the spread.
Click here for the most complete and updated list from the CDC of people at highest risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
How can I protect myself and my family?
The best way to prevent illness is to take the right precautions, as guided by the CDC. This includes:
- Getting vaccinated. Everyone ages 12+ is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Widespread vaccination is critical to ending the pandemic. Click here for the CDC's complete guidance around vaccination, including how to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.
- Practicing good hygiene and modeling these behaviors for your children. This includes covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue away, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and regularly and thoroughly cleaning hands with an alcohol-based rub or washing them with soap and water.
- Staying up to date on the latest recommendations and guidance from the CDC and be aware of the rules and regulations in your local area. From masking and physical distancing to testing and quarantining, guidelines vary based on a variety of factors, including whether you are fully vaccinated or the requirements of a particular location, such as a restaurant or workplace.
- Practicing physical distancing. This means avoiding crowded public places and large gatherings where close contact with others may occur. It’s recommended you aim for a physical distance of approximately 6 feet from others when possible.
- Regularly and thoroughly cleaning your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or washing them with soap and water, as this kills viruses that may be on your hands.
- Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue and throwing the tissue away.
- Not touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects.
How do I know the status of COVID-19 infection in my community?
Click here for the latest updates on COVID-19, including a state-by-state map from Johns Hopkins that shows reported cases and community transmission to date by county level.
Are my kids at risk for coronavirus? What symptoms should I look for?
General symptoms of COVID-19 for children are similar to those seen in adults. However, children tend to experience milder symptoms (resembling a common cold or low-grade flu) such as fever, runny nose and cough. Other potential symptoms include tiredness, sore throat, shortness of breath, body aches, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea with occasionally more severe illness, like pneumonia.
In rare cases, some children are experiencing a systemic inflammatory condition similar to Kawasaki disease with fever, eye redness and an unusual rash on the body (including the extremities). Currently being referred to as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), this can occur without the usual respiratory symptoms and in children who have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. If your child is experiencing any of the above, start a visit with us or contact your pediatrician to see if testing for COVID-19 or an in-person evaluation is appropriate.
What is the CDC’s revised recommendation around how “close contact” is defined?
The CDC currently defines “close contact” as being within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over one 24-hour period. The difference between the prior recommendation is the cumulative factor. Whereas previously, 15 consecutive minutes defined close contact, the revised recommendation states that exposures can be added together over one 24-hour period. For example, if you interact on a construction site for three minutes with an infected person, five separate times, for a total of 15 minutes in a workday, that would fit the new definition.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, shortness of breath and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, diarrhea or loss of sense of taste and smell. These symptoms are usually mild, begin gradually and can appear 2–14 days after being exposed. Individuals of increasing age and those with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, heart problems, lung conditions or diabetes are more likely to develop serious illness. For a more detailed look at symptoms, visit the CDC page here.
I am fully vaccinated but have symptoms. Should I get tested?
Breakthrough infections with COVID-19 can and do occur. Even if you are fully vaccinated, the CDC recommends getting tested if you develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
I’m worried I have COVID-19. Should I get tested? If so, where?
98point6 encourages widespread use of testing for COVID-19, and your physician may recommend it as part of your medical evaluation. You are also encouraged to discuss any concerns you might have about your personal risk or potential for exposure, as 98point6 doctors can order testing on the basis of these concerns, even in the absence of symptoms. Connecting with a physician will ensure your symptoms get assessed and you are guided towards the right next steps, which may include a visit to a testing center nearest you.
What precautions should I take if I’m sick?
It’s important to get the care you need in a way that prevents the disease from spreading to others. Take advantage of virtual care or contact your healthcare provider (call before visiting). A physician will discuss your symptoms and your risk for COVID-19 and help you decide whether you need testing. It may be recommended you self-isolate in your home for a period of time.
If you live with family or roommates, this entails:
- Staying in a separate room and using a different bathroom, if possible.
- Avoiding the sharing of personal household items, including drinkware and towels.
- Wearing a mask if you do need to be in the same room for even a brief amount of time.
- Everyone in the household should be vigilant about hygiene, from covering coughs and sneezes to thoroughly washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, plus cleaning frequently touched surfaces daily.
I had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. How long should I quarantine?
The CDC still endorses a quarantine period of 14 days post-exposure, if possible. However, to lessen the stress on the public health system, especially when new infections are rapidly rising, it now offers the following shorter quarantine options:
- After day 10 without testing
- After day 7 after receiving a negative test result on a test that occurred on day 5 or later
These alternatives should be considered in conjunction with your local public health authorities.
If you had COVID-19 in the past 3 months, recovered and have no symptoms, there is no need to quarantine. If you develop symptoms, you need to be tested if there is no other cause identified to explain your symptoms.
If you’re fully vaccinated have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
I’m experiencing mild symptoms; what should I do?
Unless you are in a high-risk group (older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions) for developing complications, the best thing you can do is self-isolate and monitor your symptoms carefully.
- Get rest and stay hydrated; this helps support your immune system.
- Use the same over-the-counter medications you would to treat the symptoms of a cold, such as acetaminophen for fever and aches and cough/cold medicine.
- For questions or peace of mind, take advantage of virtual care, as needed.
How do I know if I need emergency care?
If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately. If possible, call your healthcare provider ahead of time and tell them your COVID-19 status. Emergency warning signs include*:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or difficulty waking up
- Bluish lips or face
- Severe and constant dizziness or lightheadedness
*This list is not all-inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.
What is the CDC’s current recommendation around getting a COVID-19 test if I’ve been exposed?
Currently, testing is recommended for symptomatic individuals and for asymptomatic unvaccinated individuals who have been in “close contact” with a person who has COVID-19. Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of a person who has a COVID-19 infection for at least 15 minutes total in the last 24 hours. There are exceptions to this updated recommendation; for example, if you live with someone at high-risk of COVID-19 complications, such as an elderly person or an individual with an underlying health condition, you can discuss with your doctor whether testing might be helpful, even with no symptoms and a lesser degree of exposure.
The CDC also recommends testing for individuals who have taken part in activities where inadequate physical distancing puts them at higher risk for COVID-19, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
COVID-19 testing is becoming more available across the country every day. While an order from a physician is not always required, you can get one from us at any time if needed. Even if you just want reassurance, you can always speak with a 98point6 physician to determine if a test is right for you.
What are the different types of COVID-19 testing? How do I know which one I need?
There are two different types of tests for a COVID-19 infection. :
- PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, considered the “gold standard,” use a sample taken from the nose or mouth by swab or saliva. Results can take anywhere from hours to days.
- Rapid diagnostic viral tests (also known as antigen tests), also use a sample taken from the nose or mouth by swab or saliva. The difference is that these tests provide results in less than 15 minutes.
If you believe—or want to determine if—you had a COVID-19 infection, you can get an antibody test.
- Antibody tests use a blood sample to reveal markers of immune response in the form of antibodies, which frequently show up in the blood more than a week after the onset of symptoms. Results can take anywhere from hours to days.
For more information about testing, visit this resource from the FDA.
Can your doctors order testing?
Our physicians can provide orders for viral and antigen tests; they can also guide patients to testing locations and directly order antibody testing if you meet the requirements necessary.
Can your doctors help me understand the test results I received?
Yes. We are available 24/7 to answer questions about your diagnostic or antibody test results, and offer guidance around next steps.
How much does a COVID-19 test cost?
If you’re receiving a viral or antibody test for COVID-19, it’s possible that your lab costs may be covered. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, most insurance plans are covering or reimbursing for qualifying COVID-19-related testing costs. While some testing and lab locations may require payment at the time of testing, or bill you afterwards, it’s possible that these costs are reimbursable either through your insurance provider or your state (if you’re on Medicaid, a state-sponsored health plan or uninsured). If you do need to pay out-of-pocket for your test, know that the cost can vary. If you are billed by your lab, please contact your insurance provider or state health department to discuss how to get reimbursed for your labs related to COVID-19.
When is the best time after COVID-19 exposure to get a test?
It is important to understand that the timing of when a person is tested has an impact on the test results. It can take several days after someone is exposed to the virus for there to be enough virus to be detected. For example, being tested on the day of your exposure or the next day will likely result in a negative (not infected) test result, even in individuals who may later go on to develop infection.
COVID-19 tests are mostly likely to detect an infection three (3) to seven (7) days after exposure. COVID-19 PCR tests, which test for virus DNA, are still considered the gold standard, but antigen tests, which test for viral proteins, are increasingly used for testing symptomatic patients and for screening asymptomatic patients. For those who develop symptoms, the CDC recommends getting tested no later than 7 days after symptom onset or exposure to the virus. A 98point6 physician or your healthcare provider can help you determine the best time to be tested. Whenever you have questions or concerns about COVID-19 exposure, symptoms or testing, a physician is your best source of information, guidance and reassurance.
A student in my child’s class has been diagnosed with COVID-19. My child was exposed, but is displaying no symptoms. Should they get tested?
The CDC recommends that unvaccinated close contacts of students or staff with COVID-19 be quickly identified and tested. To make sure this happens, school administrators should work with local health officials on contact tracing efforts.
If your child is attending in-person school or daycare, make sure you have a solid understanding of the policies surrounding cases, quarantines and closures. Open, transparent communication counts and goes both ways, so ask questions to make sure you are comfortable and aware.
Should I take any medication before or after the COVID-19 vaccine?
BEFORE: It is not recommended you premedicate before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects, because it is not known how these medications may impact the vaccine’s effectiveness.
AFTER: If you have no other medical reasons to prevent you from taking them, over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines or acetaminophen can help any pain or discomfort you may have after receiving your vaccination. If you are unsure, our physicians can help guide your specific situation.
Can 98point6 physicians prescribe any specific treatments or prescriptions for COVID-19?
At this time, there are no COVID-19-specific medications used to treat patients who are not in the hospital. Our physicians are able to recommend and prescribe both over-the-counter and prescription medications to help with your symptoms. Start a visit to see what we can offer in your specific situation.