Missouri health department “Questions and Answers” for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Close up hand holding COVID-19 vaccine

The state health department has officially signed off on dispensing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine statewide. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services issued its standing order today.

The vaccine is being dispensed this week to health care professionals who work with COVID-19 patients or those who are the most vulnerable to get it. Long term care patients will also get the injections in this first round. Pfizer is shipping Missouri full doses for 51,675 people, a minimum of 975 per each of the 21-plus sites in Missouri. Missourinet cannot confirm the total number of sites because the federal and state government will not release the facility locations for security purposes. Pfizer will shop another batch of about 63,000 treatments to Missouri within two weeks.

Missouri DHSS says the most reported side effects were mild and include pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, and fever. Of note, more people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose.

The agency released the following Q and A about the inoculation process, based on the current federal guidance.

  • What do I do if I miss the second dose 21 days after the first dose?
    • Patients who do not receive the second vaccination dose at 21 days should still receive that second dose as soon as possible thereafter.
  • Should you get the vaccine if you have already contracted COVID-19?
    • Yes, but for both symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 patients, you should defer vaccination until you have met the criteria to discontinue isolation.
  • Can you receive the vaccine if you are pregnant?
    • Yes, pregnant females are recommended for the vaccine depending on the individual’s risk of acquisition due to the level of community transmission, personal risk of contracting COVID-19 due to occupation or other activities, risks of COVID-19 to the mother and potential risks to the fetus, the efficacy of the vaccine, known side effects of the vaccine and the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy. Special counseling and a 15-minute observation period after vaccination, if chosen, is recommended.
  • Should you have a pregnancy test or antibody test prior to receiving the vaccine?
    • Routine testing for pregnancy or antibody tests is not recommended in relation to vaccine use.
  • Can you get this vaccine if you are in quarantine due to exposure with a positive COVID-19 case?
    • You should delay your vaccination if you have had a known SARS-CoV-2 (virus that causes COVID-19) exposure until your quarantine period has ended unless residing in a congregate setting (health care/long-term care facility, correctional facility, homeless shelter, etc.).
  • Can you get the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine at the same time?
    • There is no information on co-administration of this COVID-19 vaccine with other vaccines. The Pfizer vaccine should be spaced at least 14 days from any other vaccine.
  • If you have been vaccinated, can you stop from using other precautions?
    • No. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.
  • Who is not recommended for the Pfizer vaccine?
    • Those under age 16.
    • An individual who has 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 insert.