Covid BoosterSeptember 27, 2023 — The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have both approved and authorized updated COVID-19 booster vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer ahead of the fall and winter virus season.

Additionally, the FDA recently approved preventive care services for Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). PEF members who have The Empire Plan as their health insurance provider, as of August 30, are eligible for both the RSV vaccine and RSV monoclonal antibodies as part of their preventive care service.

The RSV vaccine is recommended for adults ages 60 years or older, and is covered at no cost, when using a participating medical provider or at a vaccination network pharmacy. 

For infants and children who are up to 24 months old, monoclonal antibodies are recommended, and covered again at no cost through participating medical providers. 

This Empire Plan coverage extends to both the Flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine and boosters. Vaccine recommendations depend on age; however, the CDC recommends the primary COVID-19 vaccine for everyone age six months and older. 

More information about preventive care services can be found in The Empire Plan Preventive Care Coverage Guide. For specific questions or concerns, call The Empire Plan at 1-877-7-NYSHIP (1-877-769-7447). 

PEF members should be aware that there is a policy in place from the Department of Civil Service that allows time off with no charge to accruals for all COVID shots and boosters. 

The legislation was enacted in March 2021. It allows all employees up to four hours of paid leave for receiving the vaccine or any boosters. Travel time, both to and from an employee’s worksite, is included in the four-hour allowance. Anything beyond four hours is charged to leave credits.  

This rule does not cover any other vaccination type, including the Seasonal Flu Vaccine. It does; however, include multiple boosters for COVID-19 if needed.  

Employees looking to use this time off will need to request it from their supervisor and may be requested to provide proof the time was used to receive a COVID shot. 

Note: Click here for the full policy bulletin from the Department of Civil Service.