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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Download the COVID-19 FAQ Sheet (PDF)

Truman Medical Centers/University Health (TMC/UH) has been at the forefront of COVID-19 testing. Now we’re leading the way to safely distribute the vaccine to our community. We know you may have many questions so please check back regularly for updates about COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Updated January 20, 2021:


Truman Medical Centers/University Health is aware of the demand for the COVID-19 vaccine. We are not currently vaccinating the community at-large. We are, however, reaching out to our eligible patients to schedule vaccine appointments. Our focus is to vaccinate patients who are 65 and older as doses become available. We understand the community’s interest in the vaccine and ask for your continued patience at this time.

Truman Medical Centers/University Health continues to vaccinate its staff and is now working through the second dose of the vaccine. When patients receive their first dose, they will be scheduled on the spot to receive a second dose three weeks later. In the meantime, we will continue to help patient-facing medical staff within the community by sharing the vaccine with more than 20 organizations that need it.

When did the COVID-19 vaccine get approved?

On December 11, 2020, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for people age 16 and older. This is the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the United States, according to the FDA.

On December 18, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the second vaccine for the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The emergency use authorization allows the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years of age and older.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?

Over 40,000 people participated in the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial. The results showed a 95-percent effective rate against COVID-19 beginning 28 days after the first of two doses of the vaccine. Pfizer reports the vaccine was well tolerated with headache and fatigue as the most common side effects. For the latest on the Pfizer vaccine, click here.

The Moderna Phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial with 30,000 participants of its two-dose vaccine resulted in a 94.1% efficacy against COVID-19 and 100% efficacy against severe COVID-19. Moderna reports the most common side effects as being headache and fatigue, as well as pain and redness at the injection site. For the latest on the Moderna vaccine, click here.

When can I get the vaccine?

The COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in phases. Working closely with federal and state government agencies, TMC/UH has begun vaccinating frontline healthcare workers who come in direct contact with COVID positive patients. This information from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows the different phases of the vaccine rollout. Emergency medical service (EMS) workers have been added to the group 1A by the state of Missouri.

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Timeline

What does a vaccine mean for me, my family, my community?

The vaccine is the first step toward our return to normal. There is still much we don’t know such as whether this will be an annual vaccine, similar to the flu shot. Because of the unknowns, health experts recommend that we continue to wear a mask, wash your hands regularly, and stand six feet apart from others.

How do I get the vaccine?
TMC/UH staff members meet regularly to plan for a safe distribution to the public. We will follow the federal and state government guidelines on distribution in the coming weeks or months. Please continue to check this website for updates.

How many doses is the vaccine?
According to the CDC, all but one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in Phase 3 clinical trials in the United States need two shots to be effective. The other vaccine is a one shot dose.

Will I need to get the COVID-19 vaccine annually, like the flu shot?
At this point, we do not know if this vaccine will need to be administered annually.

If I have previously had COVID, should I get the vaccine?
If you’ve tested positive in the last 90 days, you should not get the vaccine.

How much will the vaccine cost?

If you have Medicaid, Medicare, or the TMC gold or purple card or if you are uninsured, there will be no cost to you. Most private insurance carriers are covering the COVID administrative fee with no cost to consumers. To confirm you should check with your insurance company first.

Is there any way to protect myself from the new strain of COVID-19 that made its way to the U.S. from England?

Mark Steele, M.D., Executive Chief Clinical Officer at Truman Medical Centers/University Health, explains that it is not unusual for a virus to mutate or change. While we continue to learn more about this new strain, Dr. Steele said it does not appear to be more deadly than the original. He urges everyone to continue to wash hands, wear a mask, and maintain social distance. “The good news is if we continue to practice infection control measures, we should be able to keep it under control as well,” said Dr. Steele.

Should I take anything like Tylenol or ibuprofen before getting the vaccine dose?

At this time, it is not known for certain if taking an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or ibuprofen prior to the shot will somehow impede its effectiveness. The best time to take any over-the-counter medication is if you develop symptoms after you receive the vaccine. However, if you regularly take these types of over-the-counter medications for other medical conditions, please continue to do so as recommended by your doctor or as needed.

Other Video Content

As you wait for your opportunity to receive the vaccine as outlined by the state and federal governments, you may still have questions or concerns. Please take a moment to watch some TMC/UH staff members explain why they decided to receive the shot.

Should pregnant women get COVID-19 vaccine? Kansas City OB-GYN weighs in.
Dr. Devika Maulik of TMC and Children's Mercy lays out the pros and cons of the vaccine for pregnant women.

Faith Communities Town Hall

Truman Medical Centers / University Health is working to provide accurate information to you about the COVID-19 vaccine. This week, we gathered a group of our physicians, a financial advisor, and a local pastor for a virtual town hall. The group addressed important questions provided by church leaders and their members in our faith communities. To watch the town hall in its entirety, click here.

If you have additional questions about the vaccine click here to get more information from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.