your guide to


Meridian is here to help you protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. Here's what you need to know about COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments.

how to get vaccinated

Man with mask getting a vaccine 

Masked mother and child, child vaccinated 

COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free. Stay up to date for the best protection against the virus.

COVID-19 vaccines and teh booster shot can help protect you from the virus. They can keep you from getting sick or ending up in the hospital. Getting vaccinated also helps to keep those around you protected. Learn more in our FAQs.

Most people can get vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women and children who are at least 6 months old. Most people are eligible for booster shots, too. The most recent booster shots protect against the new strains of COVID-19. Find out which shots you can get.

How to make an appointment

You may be able to make an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP). Just call your PCP’s office to find out. Or you can find a vaccination site online.


Need help? Call the Illinois Vaccine Appointment Call Center at 833-621-1284. This call center is open seven days a week, from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Agents can help you register for an appointment online. They can also make an appointment for you. Spanish-speaking agents and translation services are available. The call center number can also take TTY calls.


how to get tested

Testing for COVID-19 helps protect yourself and others. It's easy—and free.

It is recommended to get tested for COVID-19 if you are experiencing symptoms. This includes fever, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and more. Get tested after close contact with someone who has COVID-19. If you have plans to travel or gather indoors, take a COVID-19 test before you leave.

Meridian covers at-home COVID-19 tests for members. Ask your PCP for a prescription and fill it at an in-network pharmacy. Or, visit an in-network pharmacy and ask a pharmacist to prescribe the tests. You can receive four test kits per month.


There are also free testing sites all over the state. Find a site near you.

how to get care

Get free and fast COVID-19 treatment.

If you test positive for COVID-19, talk to your PCP right away. Your PCP can help you get the care you need. Based on your symptoms, you may need medication. Oral antiviral pills can treat mild to moderate cases. Those at high risk for serious illness can get medication via IV or shots.


You can also visit a Test to Treat site. These locations are like one-stop shops for COVID-19 care. First, you can get tested for COVID-19. If it’s positive, a provider can write a prescription for oral COVID-19 treatment. Then, you can get the prescription filled right at the testing site.


Meridian covers COVID-19 treatment. Members must visit an in-network provider or pharmacy, or a Test to Treat site.


Find answers to some commonly asked questions below.

If you don’t see the answer to your question, call us. We’re here to help.


Why should I get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The vaccine helps to protect you from COVID-19. Even if you are exposed to the virus, the vaccine can help keep you from getting sick. Being vaccinated may also reduce your risk of spreading COVID-19 to others.



Do I need a booster shot?

Booster shots help you stay protected from COVID-19. It is important to stay up to date with your booster shots. There is a new booster shot that was released in the fall of 2022. You should get this new booster, even if you already got a booster shot. The new booster protects you from the most recent variants. This shot is available to everyone older than 12. All children ages 5 to 11 should get the original booster shot. Learn more about the different booster shots.


Can my kids get vaccinated?

Children 6 months and up can get vaccinated. Call your child’s provider to schedule an appointment. Some pharmacies and local clinics have vaccine doses for kids. Visit to find a location near you.


How much does the vaccine cost?

The vaccines are completely free.



How do the vaccines work?

The vaccines help you build up immunity to the COVID-19 virus. None of the vaccines contains the COVID-19 virus. Learn more about how the vaccines work.




If I already had COVID-19, do I need the vaccine?

Yes. Even if you already had COVID-19, you could get sick again. It is important to get vaccinated to protect yourself.



Why do I need two shots of the vaccine?

When you first get the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine, you will need to get two shots. These shots will be given a few weeks apart. The first shot prepares your body’s immune system and helps it recognize the virus. The second shot strengthens your immune response.

These two shots are part of the original vaccine series. You will need to get all recommended booster shots to keep your vaccine up to date.



What are the side effects?

You may experience mild side effects after getting a vaccine or booster shot. These could include fatigue, headache, soreness or redness at the injection site, and muscle or joint pain. All these side effects are completely normal. They are signs that your body is building immunity to COVID-19.



Once I get the vaccine, do I still have to wear a mask?

Follow the current guidance about wearing a mask and social distancing.


This site contains various Meridian Medicare-Medicaid Plan (MMP) links and resources. Each link will open a new window and is either a PDF or a website.

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Updated date: 10/01/2023

Material ID: H6080_WEBSITE_2024_Accepted_10012023 

Meridian Medicare-Medicaid Plan (MMP) is a health plan that contracts with both Medicare and Illinois Medicaid to provide benefits of both programs to enrollees. This is not a complete list. The benefit information is a brief summary, not a complete description of benefits. For more information contact the plan or read the Meridian Member Handbook.  Other pharmacies/physicians/providers are available in our network. Out-of-network/non-contracted providers are under no obligation to treat Meridian members, except in emergency situations. Please call our Member Services number or see your Member Handbook for more information, including the cost-sharing that applies to out-of-network services. If you need help finding a network provider and/or pharmacy, please call 1-855-580-1689 (TTY: 711) or visit to access our online searchable directory. If you would like a Provider/Pharmacy Directory mailed to you, you may call the number above or request one at the website link provided above. ATENCIÓN: Si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-855-580-1689 (los usuarios de TTY deben llamar al 711). Los representantes están disponibles para ayudarle de lunes a viernes de 8 a.m. a 8 p.m. Los fines de semana y los días feriados estatales o federales, es posible que se le solicite que deje un mensaje. Su llamada será devuelta dentro del siguiente día hábil. La llamada es gratis. You can get this document for free in other formats, such as large print, braille, or audio. Call 1-855-580-1689 (TTY: 711). Representatives are available Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. to assist you. On weekends and on state or federal holidays, you may be asked to leave a message. Your call will be returned within the next business day. The call is free.

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