The key to effectively managing coronavirus is vaccination.
Currently, there are four vaccines authorized for use in the United States to prevent COVID-19. Other vaccines are being developed and are in various stages of the development and testing process.
The introduction of vaccines to fight COVID-19 opens up the path to managing the deadly disease. And by choosing to be vaccinated, you can protect not only yourself and your family but your community as well.
For some patients, though, vaccines may not be enough. For vulnerable and immunocompromised individuals, MU Health Care also offers Evusheld. Learn more about this medication.
How to get the COVID-19 vaccine
There are many COVID-19 vaccinators in our community, and the easiest way to find one near you is by visiting vaccines.gov.
MU Health Care offers the COVID-19 vaccine by appointment only for ages 5 and older.
For ages 6 months to 5 years:
- For children ages 6 months through 5 years, please call your child’s provider to schedule an appointment.
For ages 6 years and older:
- Select clinics are scheduling vaccination appointments for existing patients only. Call your doctor's office to schedule an appointment.
- MU Health Care is offering bivalent COVID boosters at some flu vaccination events. Information regarding availability can be found on our Where to Get Your Flu Shot page.
If you have questions, call 573-771-2273 (CARE) to get help finding vaccine appointments.
COVID-19 vaccine resources
How do the vaccines work?
The first two authorized vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna — use messenger RNA (mRNA) to instruct the body to build the coronavirus’ signature spike protein. The third authorized vaccine, by Johnson & Johnson, uses DNA inserted into an adenovirus to instruct the body to build the coronavirus’ signature spike protein. Regardless of the technology, the presence of the spike protein prompts an immune system response, resulting in antibodies that can combat the coronavirus.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two doses given 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses given 28 days apart. Learn more about the mRNA vaccines.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a one-dose vaccine. Learn more about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Novavax is a protein subunit vaccine. That means it uses a protein — in this case, a harmless piece of the COVID-19 spike protein — to alert your immune system to recognize and fight back against the real COVID-19 virus. It also includes an adjuvant, which is a substance that boosts the level of immune response. It is the same approach that has been used for decades in the vaccines for influenza, hepatitis B and HPV.
For children 6 months to 4 years, the Pfizer vaccine contains one-tenth (3 micrograms) the dose of Pfizer's adult vaccines. Children will receive three& doses. The first two doses are three weeks apart, and a third dose is two months after the second dose.
Also available for this youngest age group through age 5 is the Moderna vaccine, which contains one-fourth (25 micrograms) the dose of Moderna's adult vaccines. Children will receive two doses four weeks apart.
Facts about COVID-19 vaccines:
- They cannot give you COVID-19.
- They do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.
- They do not affect or interact with your DNA in any way.
Are the vaccines safe?
The vaccines have passed the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards as other vaccines. They were tested in large clinical trials — made up of tens of thousands of adults of different ages, races, ethnicities and medical conditions — to ensure they meet safety standards.
- The FDA carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks.
- The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), an advisory panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reviews all safety data before recommending any COVID-19 vaccine for use.
- FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure even very rare side effects are identified.
You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccines. Some participants in the trials did report side effects similar to mild symptoms of COVID-19 infection, including muscle pain, chills and a headache. Serious reactions were rare.
How much does the vaccine cost?
The COVID-19 vaccine itself is provided at no charge to you. However, there is a vaccine administration charge that will be billed to your insurance if you are insured. At this time, there is no copay or co-insurance and thus no out-of-pocket costs related to the COVID-19 vaccine or its administration. You will enter your insurance information (if you are insured) when scheduling your appointment.
For those with Medicare Advantage plans, you will need to know your Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). Your MBI is on your Medicare card. Learn more.
How to access your vaccine verification
If you received your vaccine through MU Health Care – either at Faurot Field, our Keene Street vaccination site, or through our clinics, pharmacies or hospitals – you can access your vaccine verification through HEALTHConnect, either online or in the app. (Get the app.)
- Log in to HEALTHConnect.
- Click on Results.
- Click on COVID-19 Results.
- Click on "View Vaccine Verification" under COVID-19 Vaccine Verification.
- You will have the option to print your vaccine verification or scan the QR code to save it on your phone.
Other ways to get your vaccine record
Vaccine records also are available from the state of Missouri and can be requested via email or fax. Complete the Missouri Record Request form and email to ImmunizationRecordRequests@health.mo.gov or fax to 573-526-0238.
What is Evusheld?
Evusheld is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies and is designed to prevent COVID-19 infection in high-risk individuals. For these patients, a vaccination may not generate enough immune response, which could leave them vulnerable to severe infection. Evusheld is a protective measure that provides additional immunity to help prevent COVID-19 in these high-risk patients.
Who is eligible for Evusheld?
Evusheld is for individuals who have specific risk factors that put them at high risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness. The FDA established the following criteria that patients must meet to receive Evusheld:
- Adults and children ages 12 years and older, weighing at least 40 kilograms (88 pounds), who are not currently infected with SARS-CoV-2 and who have not had a known recent exposure to an individual infected with SARS-CoV-2, and:
- Who are moderately to severely immune compromised due to a medical condition or receipt of immunosuppressive medications or treatments and may not mount an adequate immune response to COVID-19 vaccination, or
- For whom vaccination with any available COVID-19 vaccine, according to the approved or authorized schedule, is not recommended due to a history of severe adverse reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine(s) and/or COVID-19 vaccine component(s).
Evusheld is not a replacement for COVID-19 vaccines and is not given as treatment to patients who have COVID-19.
How can I get Evusheld?
MU Health Care has limited quantities of this medication, and it is available by physician order only.
If you are a patient and you think you may be eligible for the medication, please contact your primary care provider for a referral.
If you are a prescribing provider, please follow these steps:
- Adult Patients
- Pediatric Patients (Age ≥ 12)
- Ordering instructions coming soon.
Supply of this medication is limited - Patients must be scheduled in advance and will be treated in the order in which a request was received.
More Frequently Asked Vaccine Questions
Q: Who can get vaccinated?
A: Each of the three vaccines is available to different age groups. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for people 18 and older. The Pfizer vaccine is available for people 12 and older, and there is a Pfizer pediatric vaccine for ages 5-11. Anyone younger than 18 must have a parent or guardian sign their vaccine consent form. Find a vaccinator near you at vaccines.gov.
Q: What if I’ve already had COVID-19?
If you have already had COVID-19, there is evidence that you can still benefit from the vaccine. See below on timing of when you should consider vaccination.
Q: If I’ve had COVID-19, how long do I need to wait to get vaccinated?
A: The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that people wait until they’ve recovered and have completed the isolation period. For most people, that is 10 days after symptom onset and at least 24 hours without fever. For people with no symptoms, isolation can be discontinued 10 days after the first positive test.
Because reinfection is uncommon within 90 days of infection, people with documented acute infection are OK to delay the vaccine for 90 days if they choose.
If you are infected between your first and second doses, you should consult with your health care provider and consider getting the second dose after completing the isolation period. You should not wait 90 days because it’s unknown how that long of a delay would impact the vaccine’s effectiveness.
Q: If I received an antibody treatment or convalescent plasma can I get the vaccine?
A: Anyone who received monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma treatment for COVID-19 should wait 90 days before getting vaccinated. This precautionary delay is recommended because it’s unclear if the treatment would interfere with the vaccine-induced immune response.
Q: If I have had Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (adult or child), should I get the vaccine?
A: People with a history of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) or in adults (MIS-A) should consider delaying vaccination until they have recovered from illness and for 90 days after the date of diagnosis.
Q: If I get the vaccine, do I still have to wear a mask?
A: Experts advise you should follow local masking and distancing guidelines.
Q: How long will I have immunity after getting a vaccine, and will it last longer than immunity from having the disease?
A: Because this virus is new, we don’t know how long immunity lasts — either for infection or vaccination. It is thought that immunity lasts at least six months. Booster doses are recommended for some groups. Learn about booster shots.
Q: Should I wait after getting another vaccine to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?
A: Consistent with CDC guidelines, there is no need to wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine if you have received another vaccination.
Q: What are common reactions to the vaccine?
A: Most reactions are mild to moderate and are similar to side effects seen with other immunizations. These can include fever, soreness at the injection site, or even a temporary flu- like feeling with muscle aches, headache or fatigue.
Q: What if I have a reaction to the vaccine?
A: Some people might develop temporary flu-like symptoms, including fever, shortly after the second dose. This reaction is not an infection or sickness but is part of the immune system’s reaction to “seeing” the proteins from the vaccine.