Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective ways to combat illness. Two vaccines for COVID-19 have been granted Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA.
Both vaccines are recommended for teens and adults except individuals who are allergic to the vaccine or ingredients in the vaccine. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is authorized for those 16 and over; the Moderna vaccine is authorized for 18 and older. Individuals who are immune-compromised, pregnant, or breastfeeding, should check with their doctor before getting the vaccine.
With limited availability, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has prioritized vaccine distribution into phases:
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is committed to providing a free COVID-19 vaccination experience to all Missourians, including those without insurance. No person can be billed for the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination providers may charge an administration fee to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, if applicable in your situation. Uninsured Missourians will be able to receive the vaccination regardless of their health insurance status.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is overseeing COVID-19 vaccine distribution in our state. Missouri continues to vaccinate individuals within Phase 1A, which is focused on vaccinating healthcare workers and long-term care residents.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s role in Phase 1A is to ensure healthcare workers outside of large healthcare systems have access to vaccine. If your organization has not already registered interest with our department, you can let us know you need COVID-19 vaccine for your staff by calling our call center Monday-Friday 8 am to 5 pm at 417-874-1211 or by emailing [email protected]
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior services has sectioned Phase 1B of vaccine rollout into three tiers.
Phase 1B groups include high risk individuals, people 65 and older and some essential workers (critical infrastructure). To see which tier you may fall under, visit the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website.
Although vaccine supply is limited at this time, it is slowly becoming available to individuals at high risk. We expect most individuals will receive the vaccine from their primary healthcare provider. Please visit our Vaccine for High Risk Individuals page for more information.
We do not yet have a timeline for the beginning of Phase 1B-Tier 3 and Phase 2 vaccine distribution, but it is important to begin planning for which members of your workforce would like to receive a vaccine during this phase. Please visit our Vaccine for Essential Workers page for more information.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department does not yet have a timeline for vaccine distribution.
You can sign up for email updates to ensure you know the latest developments and vaccine news by clicking here.
What to know after receiving the vaccine:
Both COVID-19 vaccines stimulate a strong immune response that may cause mild and temporary symptoms in many individuals for 1-3 days. These are normal signs that your body is building protection:
- pain and swelling at the injection site
- muscle aches
Until more information is gathered on the level of protection that the vaccination provides against spreading COVID-19, we still ask that everyone use every available tool to help stop the pandemic. This includes the 3 Ws: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.
Frequently Asked Questions
Vaccines have to pass rigorous safety and effectiveness standards before they are widely distributed. The vaccines have been studied in tens of thousands of people, the study results are reviewed by independent advisory committees, and these committees then give advice on who should receive the vaccine.
Although the COVID-19 vaccine was developed in record time, that is a reflection of the global scientific community’s collective efforts to combat COVID-19—not an indication that any corners have been cut. Researchers were able to use existing science and technology, which made vaccine development faster than previously used methods of making vaccines.
Vaccines teach the body’s immune system how to fight an invader. Exactly how the vaccine works depends on the type of vaccine and the type illness it’s fighting, but the general idea is to introduce 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 COVID-19, both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. You’ve seen lots of images of the coronavirus, with those characteristic spikes. These vaccines teach your body to recognize those spikes and to fight off the virus.
No single preventative measure is 100% effective. Think of each of the prevention measures as a slice of swiss cheese: each layer provides some protection, but there may be small holes. As you stack the layers (watching your distance, washing your hands, wearing a mask) you significantly reduce your risk of disease transmission. Getting a vaccine adds another—very strong—layer to that defense.
Initial supply of both vaccines is limited, so distribution in Missouri will be broken into phases. We are currently in Phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which includes healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities.
The first individuals who will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are healthcare workers and long-term care staff and residents.
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.
Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.
If you are eligible under the currently open phases in Missouri, you can sign up for vaccine through the following providers: