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COVID-19 vaccine will be free when approved, health officials say

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that when a COVID-19 vaccine in approved it will be free — whether you have insurance or not.

With several COVID-19 vaccines under development around the world, many Americans have wondered how much it'll cost to get the immunization once one is approved. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services answered that question this week. 

THE QUESTION 

Will Americans have to pay a lot for a COVID-19 vaccine, once the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves one?

THE ANSWER 

No, it will be free, CMS announced on Wednesday. 

WHAT WE FOUND 

On Wednesday, CMS said in a news release that Americans won’t have to pay out of pocket for a coronavirus vaccine that gains full FDA approval or Emergency Use Authorization. That includes Medicare and Medicaid recipients, people with private insurance -- even those who haven’t met their deductibles for the year -- and those with no insurance at all.

“As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, providers will be prohibited from charging consumers for administration of the vaccine,” the release said. 

In a document released Thursday, the World Health Organization showed several vaccines are in Phase 3 development, being given to thousands of people to test their effectiveness and safety.

Four vaccine candidates are currently in large scale Phase 3 trials in the U.S. Pfizer executives said they should have data in early November that shows whether its vaccine effectively prevents coronavirus infections. 

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has previously emphasized that any vaccine approved this year would be in "very limited supply" at first. It wouldn't be available to most until summer or fall of 2021. 

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