COVID-19 Vaccine

Vaccine Update: 1-15-21  3:00 pm – Platte County Health Department has used the 271 doses allotted to us to vaccinate individuals in Phase 1A (Residents and Employees of Long-term Care Facilities; Patient-facing Healthcare Workers; EMS). Vaccine availability has been expanded to individuals in Phase 1B, but PCHD currently has no vaccine in our possession. However, that can change with little advance notice. To help us prepare, we ask Platte County residents interested in receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine to complete a brief survey described below. If you are a Kansas City, Missouri resident, please use this survey.

Based on availability, and guidance from the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services (MO DHSS) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Platte County Health Department will assist in the coordination of COVID-19 vaccine administration based on a changing priority system. Individuals will be identified to receive the vaccine based on occupation and risk status (age, medical conditions, etc.).

Once the vaccine is made available for your phase and tier, the Platte County Health Department will use your information from the survey to contact you with further instructions on how to schedule an appointment to receive your vaccination. However, completing this survey does not guarantee a vaccination appointment or save your place in line. You may be contacted for additional information as prioritization tiers may change.

Announcements about vaccine availability will be made in this area of the website, through the media (TV, newspaper, radio and social media). Updates will include dates, times and locations.


General Information

COVID-19 vaccinations are now underway across the U.S. As these vaccines are quite new, and doses are limited, vaccination efforts will take time and will be released in a series of phases based upon risk assessment models to best protect our populations. The information on this page is designed to help inform you of the COVID-19 Vaccines, information about them, where to get them, and other useful information. Be sure to check our website and social media pages regularly as we will be providing updates on vaccination efforts there.  

Current Phase 

1A: Phase 1A is meant to protect the frontline workers battling this pandemic with the highest risk of exposure to the virus as well as the risk of spreading to others. This will include Healthcare Workers who are patient facing. This phase also includes Long Term Nursing Care Facility Residents and Staff as these areas have been clusters of several outbreaks and contains some of the highest risk populations for severe outcomes from the virus.  As manufacturing increases, the state will begin to move into Phase 1B which will include the 1A population and begin incorporating First Responders, High Risk Individuals, and some Essential Workers. 

When Can I Get the Vaccine? 

The COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered in Phased approaches due to the limited number of available doses early on. As manufacturing increases, the state will move into additional phases to ensure that all Missourians are vaccinated who wish to be. You can learn more about the phases and who qualifies for each at Missouri’s COVID-19 Website here.  You may also view Missouri’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan here.   

Where Can I Go To Get the Vaccine? 

As the phases progress and we move into vaccinating the general public, the easiest way to find where you may receive COVID-19 vaccines is by using Vaccine Finder. This is a website that allows providers to indicate which vaccines they carry and allows users to search for clinics by their zip code. COVID-19 vaccine providers will be updating whether they have vaccine and estimated number of doses each day. 

Getting Your Covid-19 Vaccine 

Before Your Visit: See if COVID-19 vaccination is right for you. Locate a site where vaccinations are occurring. Be sure to see if you are able to schedule your follow up visit for your second dose. Be aware of what all will be required during the visit. Make sure you bring your mask and practice social distancing while attending. When planning your doses, ensure that you give yourself some time off the next day to rest and avoid making important plans in the event you don’t feel well (this is your immune system naturally responding and working). 

During Your Visit: Ensure to follow all safety precautions implemented by the place of service (i.e. wearing your mask, social distancing, etc.) You should receive a fact sheet telling you about the specific COVID-19 vaccine you are being offered to help you understand the risks and benefits of that specific vaccine. You should also be given a vaccination card that tells you which vaccine you received and when you need to return for your next dose. After you’ve received your shot, it is likely they will have you wait for at least 15 minutes to monitor you for any allergic reactions to the vaccine. 

After Your Visit: Once you’ve completed your visit, you should register with the V-Safe Program (information link below) on your smartphone device. Remember that you will need 2 doses of vaccine before you develop immunity to the virus and that it can take up to 14 days after vaccination before it reaches full effect. It is common to have some side effects such as fatigue, headache, fever, chills, etc. These symptoms are common when your body makes an immune response, like when you encounter an illness naturally. This is supposed to happen and is completely normal. For more information on taking care of yourself after the shot, click here. It is also important to continue practicing safety measures such as proper hand hygiene, wearing a face mask in public, and practicing social distancing to help curve the threat of COVID-19. 

For more information on what to expect during your visit, visit the CDC’s What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 

V-Safe is a new response reporting system that helps alert of adverse reactions with the new COVID-19 Vaccines. The system works with your smartphone and will send daily checks at 2pm for the first week after your immunization and then follows up for 5 weeks, then at 3, 6, and 12 months. It will also alert you when your 2nd dose is due. For more information, click here. 


Q: When Can I get my vaccine?

A: This will vary by which phase you would qualify for. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is continually defining and redefining who will be qualified for each phase based on the guidance from CDC. They look at different risk models of how best to control the pandemic, as well as which populations are currently impacted the most. You can view their up-to-date information at

Q: Why is it taking so long to distribute the vaccine?

A: The short answer is there is a massive supply and demand issue with the vaccine. Each state has only been allocated a certain number of doses to give out from the federal government. The state then evaluates areas that are in the greatest need for COVID-19 vaccinations. Most of our neighboring counties have a larger population base along with higher rates of infection. Because of this, Platte County may likely be receiving vaccine after some of the larger jurisdictions. There are also only two vaccines currently approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) in the U.S.  

The Pfizer® vaccine has extremely cold storage requirements. That is why it is typically offered through hospital systems, who have the ability to properly store the vaccine and who have a large enough group of personnel to whom the vaccine can be administered in a short period of time.  

The Moderna® vaccine doesn't require extreme cold storage. Platte County will order Moderna® vaccine as soon as it is available. It is currently tied up in the Federal Program set up to vaccinate all Nursing Home Residents and their Staff where clusters of outbreaks have been particularly devastating. Once more vaccine is available, it will be released from the Federal Program and given to the State so that approved providers, like the Platte County Health Department, may begin distributing vaccine to 1A personnel. It is believed that this may begin near the end of January. 

Q: Can I sign-up to be put on a waiting list?

A: Platte County Health Department is working with a private vendor to develop an online survey that residents can complete to be placed on a list. We will let the public know when the survey is available through our website, social media pages, and other media platforms. We will also use those platforms to notify the public when vaccine is available and how you may go about securing your doses. 

Q: Can I volunteer to help with vaccinations?

A: We have had an overwhelming amount of people offer to volunteer with vaccination efforts. At this time, we are not accepting more volunteers. However, this is likely to change soon. When we need more volunteers, we will provide notice through our website, social media, and through other media outlets. The best way to help now is to remember to wash your hands, practice social distancing, and wear your face mask. 

Q: Will I still have to quarantine once I am fully vaccinated?

A: At this time, yes, a fully-vaccinated individual should still quarantine after being identified as a close contact. The vaccinated individual may not develop symptoms of COVID-19, but given this novel virus, it has yet to be determined if a vaccinated individual may still transmit the virus to others. It is possible the length of quarantine may be shortened or modified. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Q: Will I have to wear a mask once I am fully vaccinated?

A: Yes. At this time, it is recommended that even vaccinated individuals practice an abundance of caution by continuing to wear a mask, social distance, wash their hands and avoid large gatherings (especially indoors).

Q: What are the possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?

A: In clinical studies, the adverse reactions in participants 18 years of age and older were pain at the injection site (92.0%), fatigue (70.0%), headache (64.7%), muscle pain (61.5%), joint pain (46.4%), chills (45.4%), nausea/vomiting (23.0%), axillary swelling/tenderness (19.8%), fever (15.5%), swelling at the injection site (14.7%), and redness at the injection site (10.0%).

Many individuals view the fatigue, headaches, aches, and chills as though they’re having a side effect of the vaccine. But, the truth is that these symptoms they’re experiencing are actually the result of their immune system doing its job and forming an immune response to the vaccine so that they’ll be protected in the future. Most participants in the studies experienced minimal symptoms after the first dose, which helps the body recognize the virus. Most people experience symptoms after the 2nd dose since that’s when the body builds immunity to the virus.

Q: What happens if I miss the timeline for the 2nd dose?

A: Patients who do not receive the second vaccination dose at 21 days (Pfizer®) or 28 days (Moderna®) should still receive that second dose as soon as possible thereafter.

Q: Will I know which vaccine I am receiving?

A: 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.

Q: What information is required to get the vaccine?

A: This will vary for each vaccinator. Just like a regular doctor's appointment, the vaccinator will let you know what information you will need to provide. Examples may include a driver’s license and insurance provider information, if applicable.

Q: If I have already recovered from COVID, do I still need to be vaccinated?

A: Yes. We are seeing evidence of reinfection in patients. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from SARS-CoV-2 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this. Vaccination should not occur until the patient has met criteria to discontinue isolation.

Q: What happens between the 1st dose and the 2nd dose?  Do I have any protection? 

A: 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. Peak protection likely begins about two weeks after the second dose.

Q: Is there a card or documentation that I have had the vaccine? 

A: You should receive a vaccination card or printout that tells you what COVID-19 vaccine you received, the date you received it, and where you received it.

Q: Will I need to get the vaccine every year?

A: There is no definitive data on how long immunity will last with this 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 is exposed to that disease in the future, their immune system will recognize it and immediately produce the antibodies needed to fight it. Although we do not know exactly how long immunity will last for the specific vaccines in trial, active immunity can be long lasting.

Q: Is there a cost to get the vaccine?

A: 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 and will not be charged.

Q: I am not sure if I want to take the vaccine.  How long will it be available?

A: The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available. Several thousand-vaccination providers will be available, including doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

Q: Can I get the vaccine from my doctor?

A: Individuals will need to contact their healthcare provider asking if they will be providing the vaccine.

Q: I work in Missouri but live in Kansas.  Where can I get my vaccine?

A: Currently the vaccine must be provided by a vaccinator in the state in which you reside.

Q: What happens if I choose not to get the vaccine?  Can I travel?

A:  If traveling out of the country, it may be dependent on your travel destination. Check out https://Travel.State.Gov for more information.

Q: Can I get COVID-19 from taking the vaccine?

A: The vaccine does not cause COVID-19. None of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently being distributed or in development contain the live COVID-19 virus. Rather, the vaccine prepares your immune system to recognize (and fight) the virus. However, it is important to note that since it typically takes 1-2 weeks for the body to build immunity against COVID-19 after you get the second vaccine dose, so it is still possible for you to become infected or sick until a full 1-2 weeks after your second vaccine dose.

Q: After getting a COVID-19 vaccine, will I test positive for COVID-19 on a viral test.

A: No. Neither the recently authorized and recommended vaccines nor the other COVID-19 vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States can cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response—the goal of vaccination—there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody testing results.

Q: What’s in the vaccine? Do we know?

A: Pfizer® and Moderna® (manufacturers of the two vaccines authorized for emergency use as of January 1) published a list of all ingredients, which are currently posted on the FDA website. Both the Pfizer® and Moderna® vaccines utilize a technology called messenger RNA (mRNA) which teaches your body how to respond to COVID-19, as well as lipids (fats) that help transport the vaccine into your body.

Q: Is the vaccine safe since it was developed so quickly?

A: The COVID-19 vaccine technology had been in development for over a decade. This is because the COVID-19 virus is not altogether new to us: It is caused by a coronavirus. Prior to the current COVID-19 outbreak, scientists had been researching other coronavirus vaccines, for diseases such as SARS and MERS. When the pandemic hit, scientists were able to build on this research (with more financial resources than ever before) to develop the COVID vaccines.

Q: As an older adult or a person with an underlying health condition, will I have more vaccine side effects?

A: Vaccine side effects are not dramatically different in people of different ages; in fact, older adults are likely to have fewer side effects. This is because their immune systems are weaker so are likely to have a less severe reaction to the vaccine’s spike protein being identified in their body.

There is no data to indicate that anyone with underlying or chronic health conditions (e.g. heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, and obesity) would have a different response to the vaccine. In fact, the vaccine is particularly important for these individuals because people with these conditions are more likely to get very sick from COVID-19.

Q: Will the COVID-19 vaccine get into my DNA?

A: mRNA, the technology used in the Pfizer® and Moderna® vaccines, is not able to alter, interrupt, or impact your genetic makeup (DNA). Rather, it instructs our body on how to fight the virus. The mRNA from a COVID-19 vaccine never enter the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA are kept. This means the mRNA does not affect or interact with our DNA in any way. Instead, COVID-19 vaccines that use mRNA work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop protection (immunity) to disease.

Q: I’ve already had COVID-19. Do I need to take the vaccine?

A: Taking the vaccine even if you have had COVID will help make sure you are protected. We don’t know how long immunity to COVID will last yet, and it is possible to contract COVID more than once.

Q: Children cannot get the vaccine. Does that mean it’s dangerous?

A: The reason that the Pfizer® vaccine is only authorized for children aged 16 and older and the Moderna® vaccine for people 18 years of age and older is because the clinical trials for these vaccines did not include enough children to make a general authorization. These companies (and others) are currently doing additional trials to ensure that the vaccine is equally safe and effective in children.



Additional Links 

CDC Main COVID-19 Vaccine Page 

Information for the Public 

Information for Providers  

Missouri Immunization Coalition’s COVID-19 Resource Page  

From Research to Emergency Use Authorization 

Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines Explained  

Vaccine Development - 101  

Understanding mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

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