Important COVID-19 Vaccine Information for CoxHealth MedicarePlus Members

Vaccine production and distribution are currently ramping up. While there isn’t yet an exact timetable in many locations, availability is expanding in some areas. Missouri is in Phase 1b Tier 1 of the state’s vaccination plan. Tier 1 of Phase 1B includes law enforcement, fire service and public health professionals, among others. Some Missouri counties and several large health systems, have websites to apply to get the vaccine when available.

This is a rapidly changing situation, so please stay in touch with your primary care physician, health system and your pharmacy for the latest news on vaccine availability. We will keep you posted as we learn any additional information.  Meanwhile, it is very important to continue following CDC guidance around face coverings, social distancing, and other protective measures for the foreseeable future. These steps will remain important to protecting you and others.

COVID-19 Vaccine: Frequently Asked Questions

Does the vaccine work? Yes. Large clinical trials have shown that both available vaccines are 95% effective in preventing you from getting sick with COVID-19. The trials also report that the risk of severe infection is lower among vaccine recipients.
If I get a vaccine can I still catch and transmit the virus? We know the vaccines reduce the risk of getting sick from COVID-19, but we do not yet know if it prevents infection without symptoms. We also do not know if people who have been vaccinated can transmit the virus to other people.
What are the new coronavirus “variants” that we are hearing about in the news?

The coronavirus mutates frequently. There are new strains being identified around the world that are now spreading here in the U.S., such as the so called “U.K. variant.”

So far from what scientists know, the U.K. variant can be more infectious, but the good news is, the vaccines are still believed to be effective. More will need to be researched about other strains as they are identified. Getting the vaccine remains one of the best steps we can all take to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.

I’ve already had COVID-19, should I still get the vaccine? Yes. The CDC recommends that individuals who previously tested positive for COVID-19 should be vaccinated. This is because natural immunity to COVID-19 (if it does develop at all) is believed to last for only a limited period of time and does not provide long-term protection against new infections.
Is the vaccine safe?  Yes. Only mild to moderate temporary side effects have been reported in the vast majority of people. Common side effects include fever, chills, body aches, headache, fatigue, and muscle soreness at injection site, generally resolving within a few days. If necessary, they can be easily managed by over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol.
Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine? No. None of the shots contain live coronavirus that can cause infection, so it’s impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine. The vaccines contain a small part of the virus that gives the body a set of instructions to destroy the live virus if you come in contact with it.
When can I get the vaccine? The vaccine supply is currently limited and being allocated to the individuals at highest risk from COVID-19. The first vaccines are being delivered to front-line healthcare workers and nursing home residents. Next, those who are 65 years of age or older and those with chronic medical conditions will be vaccinated. As additional vaccines are distributed, more widespread vaccinations will become available. Getting vaccinated will involve receiving two shots a few weeks apart. After getting your first shot, you’ll be told when to return for your second shot. It’s important that you return for your second shot so that you are fully protected.
What should I do now and what about the flu shot? Discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with your doctor. He or she will confirm whether you are in one of the high-risk groups that should be vaccinated first and answer additional questions. Stay in contact with your doctor and pharmacy. When the vaccine becomes available for you, they will have more information. In the meantime, we recommend that you get the flu shot, if you haven’t already. This is important to prevent potential double infection with both influenza and COVID-19, prevent confusion from flu symptoms that may appear similar to COVID-19, and to reduce the burden on health care systems that are already stretched to their limit. Also, continue taking precautions to protect yourself and others including wearing a mask when out in public and practicing social distancing.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine and additional tips for staying safe, you can visit these websites:

Centers for Disease Control

Missouri Covid Vaccine