COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Our goal has always been to keep the people in our county safe and healthy, and that is especially true in this challenging time. The COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to ongoing handwashing, social distancing, and mask-wearing, offer us a new opportunity to protect ourselves and those around us, from our friends and family to our teachers and frontline workers.
We know you want to stay safe and keep your family safe, and part of that involves ensuring you have the information you need to make an informed decision. Many people have questions about the vaccine, and some people who are opposed to it have spread misinformation intended to frighten others. At the same time, there are many people who want to get the vaccine or are considering it because it can mean that we keep our loved ones safe, our schools open, get our local businesses back on their feet, and move our communities forward. Our focus is on listening to your questions, providing clear, accurate, science-based information, and keeping our community’s health front and center.
While you wait to get your vaccine please continue to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and wash your hands frequently. For more information, please visit the coronavirus main page.
COVID-19 Vaccine Survey
In a joint effort to simplify the vaccination process, Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services (PHHS), Boone Hospital Center and MU Health Care have partnered to combine our COVID vaccine surveys into one centralized survey for you to submit your interest in getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Everyone who would like to get the COVID-19 vaccine can sign up for updates and appointment availability notifications by filling out the survey located online at muhealth.org/covid19-vaccine-survey. You may also click the blue button below to sign up. If you need assistance with filling out the survey, please call 573-771-CARE (2273).
If you already signed up through the PHHS/Boone Hospital survey or MU Health Care’s survey — great! There is no further action needed at this time. Our teams have worked hard to combine our survey responses, and are ensuring that all information you have provided is secure and accurate. If you would like to make any changes to your survey responses, please do so by calling 573-771-CARE (2273).
Already received your vaccine?
If you have already received your COVID-19 vaccine, please let us know by Opting-Out of our survey system. You can do this by filling out the form located at muhealth.org/form/covid-vaccine-opt-out, or by calling 573-771-CARE (2273).
Who is currently getting vaccinated?
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services is currently vaccinating those in Phase 1A Phase 1B, Tier 1, and Phase 1B, Tier 2
The priority groups detailed below are determined by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services is working closely with Boone Hospital and MU Health Care to vaccinate those in Phase 1A, Phase 1B, Tier 1, and Phase 1B, Tier 2, but vaccine supply is limited. Please sign up for our survey system detailed above. If you have signed up, we will contact you directly to schedule an appointment when a vaccine is available for you.
|Phase 1A|| |
|Phase 1B|| |
Tier 1: First Responders and Emergency:
Tier 2: High Risk Individuals
Tier 3: Critical Infrastructure
|Phase 2|| |
|Phase 3||All Missouri Residents|
Trauma Acknowledgment and Commitment to Equity
This has been an especially stressful and painful year. The loss of loved ones, jobs, businesses, homes, and livelihoods has been a heavy weight for us all. Many of us have also suffered from years of inequity, biased treatment, and lack of access. These experiences have reinforced cycles of trauma and created a lack of trust in government and health care.
The decision to vaccinate or not is a very personal one. We know the stories and believe those who have historically experienced discriminatory treatment. We keep these important truths at the center of the work we are doing to educate and gather information from the community on vaccination.
Our health department believes that everyone should have the opportunity to be as safe and healthy as possible. This means we must pay particular attention to the communities who are most at risk for COVID-19 and have less access to the support they need to stay healthy. We know that Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and other communities of color, are at risk for exposure to COVID-19 — and suffer poorer health outcomes if they get it. Many of our essential workers who keep our community running are from these same communities. The COVID-19 vaccines offer an important opportunity to support and protect those who have been and stand to be most harmed by COVID-19. We know this is only part of the solution. We must also commit to addressing the social factors that affect our health and that will reduce inequities in health outcomes.
Because of our commitment to the health and safety of our community, we want to give you the most up-to-date information. We want to listen to everyone and get your concerns and recommendations. We want to build relationships that help to heal the trauma of past experiences. We want to work with you to build trust and equitable health outcomes.
What to Expect
When you get a COVID-19 vaccine you should expect:
- Because the vaccines require two doses, plan for two appointments several weeks apart.
- Before getting the shot, you will be told about the benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine. You have the right to accept or refuse the vaccine based on the information you receive.
- The vaccines are safe and effective. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the vaccines.
- You may experience side effects which are typical of a normal immune response to any vaccine including fever, headaches, and muscle aches.
- The vaccine is free with or without health insurance.
The supply of COVID-19 is limited right now, and will be for some time, but vaccine supply will increase over time and we expect that all adults should be able to be vaccinated in 2021. The priority groups for the vaccine are determined by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (learn more at mostopscovid.com).
A vaccine for COVID-19 is only one of the ways to slow the spread of the disease. Because the supply of vaccine will be limited at first, we’ll have to keep doing everything we know works best to slow the spread of the pandemic. Wearing a face mask, staying at least 6 feet away from others, avoiding crowded indoor spaces, washing your hands frequently, and staying home if you are sick will still be the most effective ways to protect our friends and family until the majority of people have been vaccinated.
Yes. Vaccines have to pass extensive trials and meet rigorous safety and effectiveness standards before they are widely distributed. Both COVID-19 vaccines were studied in tens of thousands of people, the study results were reviewed by independent advisory committees, and these committees then gave advice on who should receive the vaccine. Finally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed all of this information to determine if the benefits outweigh the risks, and gave authorization for the vaccines to be used.
Although the COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time, that’s because the global scientific community has focused their efforts on combating COVID-19, not because they’ve cut any corners. Researchers were also able to use existing science and technology, which made it possible to develop vaccines faster than any methods previously used.
Vaccines teach your body’s immune system how to fight an invader, generally by introducing something that helps the body recognize the virus in the future. When your body responds to the vaccine, it learns how to fight that illness so that the next time you encounter it, your body is prepared to fight it off without making you terribly sick.
In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, the first two authorized vaccines draw on decades of research and results with mRNA (messenger RNA) technology.You’ve seen lots of images of the coronavirus, with those characteristic spikes. These vaccines use mRNA to teach your body to recognize those spikes and to fight off the virus.
As with most vaccines, you may experience some mild side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. You might not feel great the next day — or even a few days — and may have soreness in your arm, a mild fever, chills, tiredness, headache, and nausea or diarrhea. It may feel like you have the flu, and it may disrupt some of your normal daily activities. None of that is fun, but these side effects are normal signs that the vaccine is working. Neither of the COVID-19 vaccines have been found to have any severe side effects.
Because we don’t know yet how long natural immunity lasts after recovering from COVID-19, you should plan to get vaccinated.
The vaccines’ clinical trials show that the vaccines are safe for people with all kinds of conditions, including those who are immuno-compromised, have heart conditions, diabetes, cancer, and many others. In fact, because these put you at a higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, it is particularly important that you get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor or nurse practitioner if you have questions about whether you should get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Though the mRNA technology used in the vaccine is known to be safe and effective for people who are pregnant or lactating, none of the COVID-19 vaccine trials included people in those groups. If you are pregnant or lactating, talk to your health care provider about the benefits and risks of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Vaccination is not mandatory at this time. It is strongly recommended, but it is not required by federal, state, local, or tribal governments. Private employers, however, may choose to require it of their employees when the vaccine is widely available.
Herd immunity occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease (through vaccination and/or prior illness), making the spread of this disease from person to person unlikely. Herd immunity protects the most vulnerable members of our population. If enough people are vaccinated against dangerous diseases, those who are susceptible and cannot get vaccinated are protected because the germ will not be able to “find” those susceptible individuals.
The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease, and experts don’t know yet what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19.
Yes, you can get vaccinated in Boone County even if you do not live in Boone County. Our department is focused on vaccinating eligible people who work or live in Boone County, but we know that a lot of people come to Boone County for medical care. In that case, we encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider once vaccines become available for the group you fall in to.
No. Every day, a healthy immune system successfully fights off thousands of germs. Antigens are parts of germs that cause the body’s immune system to go to work to build antibodies, which fight off diseases. The antigens in vaccines come from the germs themselves, but the germs are weakened or killed so they cannot cause serious illness. Even if people receive several vaccinations in one day, vaccines contain only a tiny fraction of the antigens they encounter every day in their environment. Vaccines stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies to fight off serious vaccine-preventable diseases.
Three of the four most advanced COVID-19 vaccines use two doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses should be administered 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine doses should be administered 28 days apart.
It is important that patients return for the second dose to develop the highest level of protection from SARS-CoV-2. Patients who do not receive the second Pfizer vaccination dose at 21 days or the Moderna vaccination at 28 days should still receive that second dose as soon as possible thereafter.
Yes, patients must receive the same vaccine for both the first and second doses. Your vaccination provider will give you a vaccine card stating the manufacturer name and other critical information you will need for a second dose.
There is no definitive data on how long immunity will last with a vaccine. A COVID-19 vaccine will trigger an immune system response to develop active immunity. Active immunity results when exposure to a disease organism triggers the immune system to produce antibodies to that disease. If an immune person comes into contact with that disease in the future, their immune system will recognize it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it. Although we don’t know exactly how long immunity will last for the specific vaccines in trial, active immunity can be long-lasting.
You should delay your vaccination if you have had a known SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) exposure until your quarantine period has ended, unless residing in a congregate setting (health care/long-term care facility, correctional facility, homeless shelter, etc.).