For the latest information on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 infection, please visit www.CDC.gov.
Anyone over the age of 12 is eligible to receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines, which are highly effective in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19 infection.
In addition to being fully vaccinated, you might also want to consider an additional dose or a booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised get an additional (third) dose of the mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) that they previously received. A third does of the Johnson&Johnson/Janssen vaccine is currently not recommended. Check with your doctor about if/when you should get a third dose.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have also recently endorsed a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot for those age 65 and older, those at high risk of severe illness and for those with frequent institutional or occupational exposure—such as healthcare workers, teachers, grocery store workers and others. Only those who received the first two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot, which can be given at least six months after a second dose of the vaccine. Visit www.CDC.gov for eligibility information or for the status of Moderna or Johnson&Johnson/Janssen booster shots.
For information about dominant strains of COVID-19, statistics and other helpful COVID-19-related information, please visit www.CDC.gov.
Addressing Vaccine Myths and Concerns
Rest assured that COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective and offer the best chance at staying healthy throughout this pandemic. We understand that myths and concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine can lead to hesitation or resistance. If you know someone with reservations about getting the vaccine, we’re happy to provide some clarity that you can share. Each vaccinated person gets us one step closer to the end of this pandemic.
- I’m afraid of the long-term side effects of a rushed vaccine.
Vaccines are designed to act quickly in getting our bodies to provide an immune response and then are eliminated from the body. Any side effects usually happen immediately or within two months. Currently, there is clinical data—which includes up to 18 months of follow-up—for 1.5 million people who received the vaccines. Over 3 billion people worldwide have been vaccinated, and no late-emerging side-effects have been identified. The COVID-19 vaccines have been determined as safe and effective.
- I’ve already had COVID-19, so I’m protected.
Though you develop antibodies from being infected with COVID-19, that doesn’t mean you’ll never become sick with the virus again. It’s currently not known how long you’re protected from getting COVID-19 after you’ve had it. There’s evidence that unvaccinated people who have had COVID-19 are twice as likely to get COVID-19 than people who are fully vaccinated.
- I don’t have to worry if I’m not immunocompromised or elderly.
While it’s true that elderly people and people with underlying health conditions are at greater risk of severe infection from COVID-19, many young and middle-aged adults without pre-existing conditions have had severe infection from COVID-19, and many have died. One in every three unvaccinated people that get infected have symptoms that linger for months—even if they don’t have a severe case. These symptoms can range from long-term loss of taste and smell to disabling effects like blood clots, shortness of breath or fatigue. COVID-NET, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) population-based surveillance system for COVID-19 hospitalizations, lists COVID-19 data by age group, health condition, deaths and many more factors. Visit www.CDC.gov/Coronavirus/2019-ncov/Covid-Data/Covid-net/Purpose-Methods.html to see the growing numbers.
- I think the media is making COVID-19 seem worse than it actually is.
There’s an overwhelming amount of evidence (studies, research, self-reported symptoms, etc.) that prove the seriousness of COVID-19. There are trustworthy sources who report accurate, truthful information and findings. One such source is the CDC. For statistics that are updated weekly, visit www.CDC.gov/Coronavirus/2019-ncov/Covid-Data/CovidView/Index.html. In the media, we see a lot of reports about the COVID-19 death toll, but one thing that isn’t widely reported is that 30 percent of unvaccinated people who get COVID-19 will have long-term symptoms. Vaccination protects you from getting infected, hospitalized and even dying; it also significantly prevents long-term symptoms of COVID infection.
- I’m afraid the vaccine will infect me with COVID-19.
No COVID-19 vaccine contains the live virus. This means that you can’t become infected with COVID-19 from getting the vaccine. You can develop some symptoms from the vaccine, such as fever, body aches and headache, which means your body is building an immune response to help protect against the live virus if you were to come into contact with it.
Where to Get the Vaccine
COVID-19 vaccines are offered in Missouri and Illinois for anyone age 12 and over and are available at nearly any pharmacy. You could also attend a mass vaccination event. There is no cost for the vaccine.
To see nearby locations and even filter by vaccine manufacturer, visit:
COVID-19 vaccines are offered in California for anyone age 12 and over and are available at nearly any pharmacy. You could also attend a mass vaccination event. There is no cost for the vaccine.