Many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. One is the ongoing effort to quickly develop a safe and effective vaccine. Here are answers to a few questions you may have about these potential vaccines:
- How will we know a vaccine is safe?
Your health and safety are our top priority. A vaccine must be shown to be safe and effective before it can be offered to the public. Learn more about how the U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible from the CDC here.
- When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be limited at first, CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be allocated to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents. As vaccine availability increases, vaccination recommendations will expand to include more groups.
- When I get a vaccine, will I be able to stop social distancing and wearing a mask?
No. A vaccine is another safety measure we can use to help stop the pandemic. The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. Even as we begin vaccinating people, remember to continue to follow the 3 W's – wear masks, watch your distance from others, and wash your hands often.
Find more information and frequently asked questions (FAQs) about COVID-19 vaccines from the California Department of Public Health.
The Governor has signed orders for social distancing and stay-at-home rules to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. We want to remind you that you can still get Medi-Cal services. Read the Medi-Cal member letter for important information about Medi-Cal and COVID-19 from The Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).
Changes have been made to make it easier for you to keep your health (Medi-Cal), food (CalFresh) and financial (CalWORKs, General Assistance & CAPI) benefits during the COVID-19 emergency. For more details of the changes, visit Santa Clara County Social Services (SSA) Department of Employment & Benefits website or download the PDF guides in English, Spanish, or Vietnamese.
Given the shelter-in-place order in Santa Clara County, we want you to know that SCFHP will remain open to maintain operations for our members and providers. However, most of our staff are now working from home and our lobby is closed to visitors until further notice. To speak to SCFHP Customer Service:
- Medi-Cal members, call 1-800-260-2055 (TTY: 711) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Cal MediConnect members, call 1-877-723-4795 (TTY: 711) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tips for staying healthy
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory virus that can spread from person-to-person. Here are the best ways to protect yourself and your family.
- Practice “social distancing,” staying at least six feet away from anyone not living in your same household.
- Practice good hygiene: Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as these are the areas where viruses are most likely to enter your body.
- Don’t spread germs: Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands. Instead, use your sleeve or a tissue. Throw away the used tissue immediately and wash your hands as soon as possible.
- Avoid people who are sick and stay home if you’re sick: The main symptoms of coronavirus are fever, cough and/or breathing difficulties. Having these symptoms does not mean you have coronavirus. But to be safe, stay away from anyone who seems sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others: You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public. Visit CDC’s page for more information and to learn how to make your own face cover.
What do I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?
Call your doctor if you develop a fever, have a cough, or have difficulty breathing. Tell them if you’ve been in close contact with a person who has been tested, has a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, or if you live in or have been to an area where the virus has spread.
You may also call the SCFHP Nurse Advice Line to speak to a nurse about what to do.
SCFHP Nurse Advice Line
Medi-Cal members, call 1-877-509-0294 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Cal MediConnect members, call 1-844-803-6962 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
An advice nurse can help by phone when you’re not sure what kind of care you need. He or she will ask about your symptoms and tell you:
- If you need to go to Urgent Care
- If you can wait to see your doctor (within 24 hours, 3 days, or longer)
- How to take care of your symptoms at home
The advice nurse may refer you to your primary care providers and can also connect you to a telehealth doctor who can go through your symptoms, recommend a treatment, and can even send a prescription to your nearest pharmacy if needed. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, the advice nurse can provide information on what to do if you have been exposed to COVID-19, where to get details about testing, and how to use the CDC symptom tracker.
This service is offered at no cost for Santa Clara Family Health Plan members.
Find a COVID-19 community testing site near you
For more information on testing sites in Santa Clara County, visit Santa Clara County Public Health website at sccFreeTest.org. There is no cost to SCFHP members for medically necessary screening and testing for COVID-19.
Avoid going to the pharmacy for your prescriptions
You can get a 90-day supply of most prescription maintenance medications mailed to you through MedImpact Direct. Talk to your doctor about getting a 90-day supply. Cal MediConnect members pay the same co-pay as a 30-day supply to get a 90-day supply. To find out more about our mail order services, visit www.medimpactdirect.com or call 1-855-873-8739 (TTY: 711).
Just got your 30-day supply filled?
You can still get a 90-day supply of most prescription maintenance medications mailed to you through MedImpact Direct. You'll need to have a valid prescription on file and your doctor must say it's okay for you to refill early.
Use the mySCFHP member portal for self-service
You can see your plan information, request transportation to and from medical appointments, view and request to change your PCP, and more. Create an account today!
You will need the information on your SCFHP member ID card to create an account.
If you have questions, contact us.
Take care of yourself
CalHOPE also provides information and resources on managing stress related to COVID-19 and reducing the impact of stress on your physical and mental health. Call the CalHOPE Warm Line 1-833-317-4673 to talk to someone and connect to resources.
If you, or someone you care about, are feeling overwhelmed with emotions such as sadness, depression, or anxiety, call Santa Clara County Behavioral Health Services Call Center at 1-800-704-0900. If you’re struggling with substance use problems, call Substance Use Services Call Center (formerly Gateway Call Center) at 1-800-488-9919.
If you feel like you want to harm yourself or others, call 911.
Need help getting food?
Meals on Wheels Senior Nutrition Program is offering meals to go and take out at most locations. Meals on Wheels is also continuing to provide delivery of meals. Learn more by calling the Meals on Wheels program at 1-408-350-3246.
Despite closures, many schools in Santa Clara County are continuing to provide nutritious meals to the community. See this document for a list of participating schools and additional information. This document will be updated as details become available. Any child or family with children 18 and under may pick up meals at no cost for the children.
Were you laid off or were your hours reduced?
The Employment Development Department (EDD) of California is encouraging individuals with DACA and other employment authorizations who are affected by COVID-19 layoffs to apply for unemployment benefits. Workers do not have to be sick to qualify. Individuals who were laid off or have had hours reduced due to COVID-19 restrictions can also apply.
OnwardCA is also helping to connect you to essential life services like money, groceries, or childcare. The organization provides assistance with returning to work as quickly as possible. Learn more and sign-up on the OnwardCA website.
Do you need access to the internet?
Comcast is offering free Wi-Fi and broadband internet to qualifying low-income families for 60 days. Visit Comcast website for more information.
Community resource guides during COVID-19
During the shelter in place order, many nonprofits are offering limited services or providing alternative options to in-person services. SCFHP's COVID-19 Community Resource Guide provides a list of safety net services and additional resources available to you. The guide is also available for download in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog:
- Medi-Cal members: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog.
- Cal MediConnect members: English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog
First 5 Santa Clara County put together a directory of comprehensive community resources that are available to families during COVID-19 crisis. It includes food distribution sites, community health center locations, behavioral health services and much more. You can view and download the guide in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Tagalog.
You can also see a list of community resources for youth, families and individuals impacted by COVID-19 at the Santa Clara County website. Many services are available to all members of our community, regardless of ability to pay or immigration status.
Frequently asked questions
No. There is no cost to SCFHP members for screening, testing, or vaccinations for COVID-19.
Our mail order pharmacy, MedImpact Direct, may have your medication in stock. They can help transfer your prescription. You can get a 90-day supply of most prescription maintenance medications mailed to you through MedImpact Direct. Visit www.medimpactdirect.com or call 1-855-873-8739 (TTY: 711).
If you need help, contact us.
SCFHP has temporarily removed certain restrictions for getting medications. This only applies to medications that your doctor* prescribed to you from the SCFHP formularies. To see the Medi-Cal Formulary, visit Forms & Documents. To see the Cal MediConnect List of Covered Drugs (Formulary), visit Member Materials.
*Kaiser Permanente is excluded. If you are a SCFHP member in Kaiser’s network, contact Kaiser at www.kp.org.
To support timely access to COVID-19 testing and treatment, SCFHP has temporarily lifted its requirement to provide Customer Service notice at least 3 to 5 business days prior to any COVID-19 related appointment to arrange transportation. Log in to the mySCFHP member portal to request transportation to and from your medical appointments. Or contact us for help.
CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in public. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms.
A cloth face covering should be worn whenever people are in a community setting, especially in situations where you may be near people. These settings include grocery stores and pharmacies. These face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing. Cloth face coverings are especially important to wear in public in areas of widespread COVID-19 illness.
Yes. Wearing cloth face coverings is an additional public health measure people should take to reduce the spread of COVID-19. CDC still recommends that you stay at least 6 feet away from other people (social distancing), frequent hand cleaning and other everyday preventive actions. A cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, but it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. This would be especially important if someone is infected but does not have symptoms. View CDC’s guidance on how to protect yourself.
Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children younger than 2 years of age, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
Surgical masks and N95 respirators are in short supply and should be reserved for healthcare workers or other medical first responders, as recommended by CDC guidance.