COVID Vaccine FAQs
We hope these FAQs can help inform you about the COVID-19 vaccines, in order to make this important decision.
Got even more questions? Find even more answers from Missouri Dept. of Health, CDC and FDA.
Vaccines for Kids & Teens
- Am I eligible to get a COVID vaccine right now?
Anyone 6 months or older can receive a COVID vaccine at this time.
(Learn more about COVID vaccines for children and teens.)
- Where can I get a vaccine? Who is administering the COVID-19 vaccines?
Many different kinds of organizations have qualified to be vaccinators in Missouri. These include hospitals, health departments, pharmacies, large employers and more. You may also wish to check with your healthcare provider, pharmacy, or employer to see if they plan to offer the vaccine at any point.
You can visit our Where to Get Vaccinated page for a list of local options. For a list of pediatric providers, click here.
- Does Clay County Public Health Center offer COVID vaccines?
Yes, we offer vaccination for all ages (6 months+). Learn what COVID vaccines are currently offered at CCPHC and how to make an appointment.
Clay County Public Health Center has been providing the COVID-19 vaccine since Jan. 11, 2021. CCPHC was also part of Operation Safe, a community effort to vaccinate Missourians at a clinic at Cerner's North Kansas City campus.
- What is the Novavax vaccine and how can I get it?
The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is a protein-based vaccine (does not include mRNA). Novavax is manufactured more like “traditional” vaccines, like flu vaccines. Learn more about the Novavax vaccine.
Clay County Public Health Center offers Novavax and Novavax boosters on Thursdays.
- Can I get the J&J vaccine at Clay County Public Health Center?
The Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine is not currently offered at Clay County Public Health Center. After expiration of our current stock, it was decided to no longer carry J&J due to low demand and additional safety considerations. Click here to find other places that may offer the J&J vaccine.
- Can I get a bivalent booster at Clay County Public Health Center?
Yes. Anyone age 12 and older can receive this new booster if they've completed their primary series and it's been at least 2 months since their last COVID shot (any type). We are only offering the Pfizer bivalent vaccine at CCPHC. Learn more.
The original (monovalent) versions of the Pfizer and Moderna are only available for people getting their primary series.
- How much does it cost to get vaccinated?
Getting a COVID vaccine is FREE for everyone.
No person can be billed for the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccine providers may charge an administration fee to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, if the patient has any of those. If the patient does not have any of those, they are still able to get vaccinated for free.
- I have more questions about COVID vaccines. Where can I find more info?
Check out these pages from other reliable health organizations:
- Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services
- Liberty Hospital
- Greater Than COVID video series
- North Kansas City Hospital & Meritas Health
- The University of Kansas Health Center
- Truman Medical Center (En Español)
- Kansas City, Missouri Health Department
- Are the available COVID-19 vaccines safe and effective?
Yes, the vaccines were tested on tens of thousands of people and have passed safety requirements in Phase I, Phase II and Phase III trials. Over 179 million people have gotten vaccinated in the United States so far.
For more safety information, visit the trustworthy sources below for in-depth and accurate information about vaccine safety and effectiveness.
- Is it safe to get my child vaccinated?
Yes. Scientists and medical experts have worked to ensure the vaccine is safe for children and adolescents ages 6 months to 17 years old. Before being authorized for children, these experts completed their review of safety and effectiveness data from clinical trials involving thousands of children. What’s more, 22 million children and adolescents, ages 5-17 have already received the COVID-19 vaccine. As of June 18, 2022, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are also authorized for children as young as 6 months.
Data from trials will continue to be collected for two years after each vaccine is first administered to ensure that they are safe for the long term. As with all vaccines, there will be ongoing monitoring among people who are vaccinated.
- Why did it take so long for the FDA to make a decision about vaccines for children under 5?
All the COVID-19 vaccines have undergone a rigorous review process before being authorized for a given age group. The FDA’s evaluation of vaccines for young kids has been part of this overall thorough review process. Clinical trials were not started in children until after the trials in adults showed safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
Additionally, part of what made the review process longer for young kids is that experts were determining what dosage and series would be safe and effective for children under five. After reviewing initial data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in young kids, the FDA waited to receive additional findings from clinical trials to ensure that its recommendation was based on a substantial amount of clinical data.
- Is it safe to get vaccinated if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
Yes. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for all people 6 months and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future.
Evidence about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy has been growing. These data suggest that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine outweigh any known or potential risks of vaccination during pregnancy.
Please visit CDC's COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding for updated information to help you make your decision. You can also hear from medical professionals here.
- How was the vaccine developed so quickly?
- In developing a vaccine for COVID-19, researchers had to work quickly, but not at the risk of anyone’s safety. Researchers did not cut any corners or skip any steps. Safety and effectiveness were the top priorities.
- The accelerated timeline for developing COVID-19 vaccines was possible for several reasons:
- Researchers were able to use years of previous research in other viruses and vaccines to help inform a vaccine development process for COVID-19.
- Everyone involved dedicated all their resources and time to developing a COVID-19 vaccine. This includes research institutions, pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, and philanthropic organizations.
- Many governments around the world, including the U.S. government, and private funders invested in the vaccine, which allowed pharmaceutical companies to focus on research and clinical trials instead of fundraising, one of the most time-consuming parts of vaccine development.
- Finally, because of the financial support, researchers were able to conduct different parts of the development process on parallel tracks instead of one after another. Usually, each phase in a clinical trial ends before the next phase begins, with several months to a year or more in between each phase. Vaccine developers use this time to plan and raise money. Because of the emergency presented by the pandemic, researchers developed the vaccines on parallel tracks, meaning that they completed the necessary steps at the same time or with some overlap. No steps were skipped in the process of developing the COVID-19 vaccines.
- What ingredients are used in the vaccines?
The ingredients used in the mRNA vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are simple. They contain mRNA, as well as lipids to ensure safe delivery of the mRNA that will initiate an immune response.
Ingredients of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine include: recombinant, replication-incompetent adenovirus type 26 expressing the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, citric acid monohydrate, trisodium citrate dihydrate, ethanol, 2-hydroxypropyl-β-cyclodextrin (HBCD), polysorbate-80, sodium chloride.
Although FDA approved adjuvants (aluminum salts) and preservatives (ethlymercury) have a history of safe use in vaccines, they were not used by Pfizer, Moderna or Janssen.
- Tromethamine in the vaccine for children ages 6 months - 11 years: Tromethamine (Tris) buffer replaced phosphate buffered saline (pbs) in both the vaccine authorized for children 6 months - 11 years and an additional formulation authorized for those 12 and older. The Tris buffer in the vaccine for those 6 months - 11 years, which is a very small amount at 0.15 mg, is an inactive ingredient and serves as a stabilizer used to aide in a simpler and longer storage period. This switch will allow for the Pfizer vaccine to be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures for up to 10 weeks, which may increase the vaccine’s availability to underserved areas. Contrary to claims on social media, it is not being used to reduce blood acid levels in patients. Tromethamine has been used safely as an ingredient in FDA approved vaccines, like Ebola Zaire, smallpox and dengue fever, as well as the FDA approved Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
- What are the possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?
Among vaccine recipients during the Pfizer clinical trials, 8.8% reported experiencing any reaction they considered to interfere with daily activity; the most common symptoms were fatigue (4.2%), headache (2.4%), muscle pain (1.8%), chills (1.7%), and injection site pain (1.4%). Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.
Among vaccine recipients during the Moderna clinical trials, 9.1% reported local injection site reaction and 16.5% reported side effects with the most common being including fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches and pains.
Additionally, no specific safety concerns were identified for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in subgroup analyses by age, race, ethnicity, underlying medical conditions, or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection.
- Who is NOT recommended for each vaccine?
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are authorized for those age 6 months and older. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is authorized for those 18 and older.
The vaccines are not recommended for individuals who have experienced a serious reaction (e.g., anaphylaxis) to a prior dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or to any of its components. For information on vaccine components, refer to the manufacturers’ package inserts from Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
- Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?
No. None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19.
- Is Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Yes. Although use of the J&J vaccine was temporarily paused in April 2021, following a thorough safety review, U.S health officials determined that the recommended pause should be lifted and use of the vaccine should resume.
The two agencies have determined the following:
- Use of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine should be resumed in the United States.
- The FDA and CDC have confidence that this vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19.
- The FDA has determined that the available data show that the vaccine’s known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks in individuals 18 years of age and older.
- At this time, the available data suggest that the chance of TTS occurring is very low, but the FDA and CDC will remain vigilant in continuing to investigate this risk.
- Health care providers administering the vaccine and vaccine recipients or caregivers should review the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers, which have been revised to include information about the risk of this syndrome, which has occurred in a very small number of people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
CDC’s independent Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met to discuss the latest data on TTS, hearing from the vaccine manufacturer Janssen and the COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Subgroup, as well as a risk benefit analysis. ACIP is committed to be vigilant and responsive to additional information that could impact the risk benefit analysis of any of these vaccines. Vaccine safety monitoring will continue and any new information about TTS will be brought to ACIP as needed.
Update December 16, 2021
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services updated the standing orders for the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to indicate that either authorized mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) are preferred over the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals ages 18 years and older due to the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia or Guillain-Barre (GBS) following vaccination. Clients medically unable to receive the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or would otherwise not be vaccinated against COVID-19 may request the Janssen vaccine, and a CCPHC nurse may determine if the client is eligible for the vaccine.
- Can I get a booster shot of the COVID vaccine?
Anyone ages 12 years and older that completed their primary series and it has been at least 2 months since their last COVID monovalent vaccine or booster is eligible to receive one bivalent booster shot. This updated booster became available starting September 2022.
Children ages 5-11 years that completed their primary series can get one monovalent booster shot. Updated bivalent boosters may become available in the coming months
Make an appointment with Clay County Public Health Center for your booster shot.
Learn more about boosters from CDC or in these additional FAQs.
- Why should children get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Medical and public health experts, including the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend that children and adolescents age 6 months and older get a COVID-19 vaccine to help protect them from contracting and spreading the virus.
The vaccine is the best way to protect children from becoming severely ill or having long-lasting health impacts due to COVID-19. While children and adolescents are typically at lower risk than adults of becoming severely ill or hospitalized from COVID-19, it is still possible. COVID-19 has become one of the top 10 causes of pediatric death, and tens of thousands of children and teens have been hospitalized with COVID-19.
Another important reason for children to get the COVID-19 vaccine is to protect their friends, family, and the broader community from the spread of the virus. The higher the vaccination rates, the lower the chances that the coronavirus will mutate into additional variants.
- How soon after having COVID can I get vaccinated?
You can get vaccinated after having COVID-19 as soon as you are able to end isolation. See the criteria for ending isolation here.
An exception would be for people who were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma or people who have a history of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults or children (MIS-A or MIS-C). They may need to wait a while after recovering before they can get vaccinated and its recommended to talk to their doctor.
- Why should I get vaccinated if I've already had COVID-19?
Some recent studies indicate that immunity gained through infection can be highly effective. However, we are still learning exactly how long this natural immunity can last. Vaccination is also a much safer way to acquire immunity. While some people may have mild cases of COVID, it is not worth the risk of having a more serious case that requires medical intervention or results in long-term health issues.
- What do I do if I lose my vaccine card?
You can receive a copy of your vaccination record from Clay County Public Health Center by completing this online form. The record will include proof of your COVID-19 vaccination if you were vaccinated anywhere in Missouri. We cannot offer replacement cards at this time.
If you were vaccinated with Operation Safe or North Kansas City Hospital, a record of your vaccination can also be found in the myhealth patient portal. Learn more.
- Can I stop wearing a mask and following public health protocols if I am vaccinated?
If you are vaccinated, you can resume many activities that you did before the pandemic. However, to maximize protection from variants and prevent possibly spreading it to others, it is recommended to wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission, even if you are vaccinated. Some cities, counties and businesses may require the use of a mask regardless of vaccination status.
Please see CDC's guidance for When You've Been Fully Vaccinated.
- After getting vaccinated, do I still need to quarantine after possible exposures?
See CDC's latest guidance for who needs to quarantine and when.
- Can I still catch COVID after being vaccinated? Can I still spread COVID after being vaccinated?
Yes. It is still possible to contract COVID-19, with these cases being known as "breakthrough cases." Although the vaccine is highly effective at preventing COVID-19, is not 100% effective. There is some evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick.
If you've been vaccinated, you should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
You may choose to continue to wear masks and practicing physical distancing, even after you have been vaccinated. Learn more about After You've Been Fully Vaccinated.
- After I’ve gotten vaccinated, how long will it take to get immunity?
If it has been less than two weeks since your final dose of COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of your age, you are NOT considered fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require two doses of the vaccine to reach maximum effectiveness. Even after receiving your second dose, you will not be immediately protected from COVID-19. Studies show that it takes about one to two weeks after your last dose for your body to be able to protect itself against illness.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine takes about two weeks after your first and only dose.
- Will I still be protected if I only get one dose? Why is important to get the second dose?
If you received a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for your first dose, it is very important to get both doses of the vaccine so that your body develops enough antibodies to fight the COVID-19 virus if you get infected in the future.
It is also very important that you receive the second dose of your COVID-19 vaccine on time. The time frame between the vaccine’s first and second dose is determined by the companies producing the vaccine to maximize your body’s ability to create antibodies against the virus. Many vaccinators will go ahead and schedule your appointment for your second dose while making your first appointment or during your appointment.
Getting more than one dose for a vaccine is not unusual. In fact, it’s the norm. Many routine vaccines require more than one dose for maximum protection.