Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak across the U.S. in late January of 2020, ever-changing information about the disease, safety measures, and vaccine efficacy has stirred fear and uncertainty. Though some cases of adverse side effects have followed COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as an extremely low relative number of deaths (0.0022%), few studies have examined mortality across vaccinated and unvaccinated groups.
COVID-19 Vaccination and Non-COVID-19 Mortality Risk, a study conducted between Dec. 2020 and July 2021, came in response to safety concerns surrounding the vaccine. Despite the outbreak of the highly transmissible Delta variant within the same time frame, daily vaccination rates fell 78% between April and September of 2021. The study of 11 million people was conducted to evaluate and compare mortality rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated participants.
Researchers found that COVID-19 vaccine recipients had lower rates of mortality not associated with COVID-19 (non-COVID-19 mortality) than unvaccinated people. The results of the study reinforce the safety profile of currently approved COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S.
With more than 192.9 million people fully vaccinated as of Nov. 3, 2021, the proof is in the numbers: there is no increased risk for mortality among COVID-19 vaccine recipients. Learn more about COVID-19 vaccine safety, common myths, and facts about the vaccines.
Certain people are now eligible to receive a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, also referred to as a booster shot. Eligible individuals may choose which vaccine they receive as a booster dose with approval from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to mix and match vaccine dosing.
As of November 3, 2021, 20.6 million people have received a booster dose of the vaccine. Those who are recommended to receive a booster shot include:
- People 65 years and older.
- People 50-64 years old with underlying medical conditions.
- People 18 years and older who live in long-term care settings.
According to the CDC, for the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.
People who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines are eligible to receive booster shots, especially if immunocompromised. The Moderna vaccine is given in two doses, 28 days apart, for people 18 years and older. The Pfizer vaccine, also given in two doses, is administered 21 days apart and available for people 12 years and older.
Following guidance from CDC, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has amended the state’s standing orders for Moderna and Janssen vaccine administration for those eligible for a booster shot.
For individuals in Missouri who received a Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after their initial series.
- Ages 65 years and older.
- Ages 18+ who live in long-term care settings.
- Ages 18+ who have underlying medical conditions.
- Ages 18+ who work or live in high-risk settings.
For Missourians who received the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago.
COVID-19 booster shots are administered anywhere the COVID-19 vaccine is available. Individuals do not need to get their booster shot at the same location they received their initial series. Those seeking a booster shot can visit MOStopsCovid.com to find a nearby provider and schedule an appointment or locate a walk-in clinic.
Learn more about booster shots and how to choose which is right for you, read frequently asked questions, and see supporting data from the CDC.
Vaccines for Children and Teens
On Oct. 26, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel endorsed kid-size doses of Pfizer’s vaccine for 5- to 11-year-olds. The group overwhelmingly agreed that the vaccine’s benefits in preventing COVID-19 among that age group outweigh any potential risks.
The panel also placed importance in parents’ ability to choose to protect their children, especially those at high risk of illness or who frequent places where other safety measures aren’t being taken.
On October 29, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine to include children ages 5-11 years old. Two key points underscored the overwhelming vote in favor of extending the vaccine to children:
- Effectiveness: Immune responses of children 5-11 years of age were comparable to those of individuals 16-25 years of age. The vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5-11 years of age.
- Safety: The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children ages 5-11 who received the vaccine. No serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study.
In the clinical trial, more children reported side effects after the second dose than after the first. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity, occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days.
Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial included:
- Injection side pain (sore arm).
- Redness and swelling.
- Muscle and/or joint pain.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Decreased appetite.
In the U.S., COVID-19 cases in this age group make up 39% of cases in individuals younger than 18. In the FDA press release, FDA Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Director Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., stated the FDA is committed to making decisions guided by science and transparency. The FDA will continue to post resources supporting their decision and detailing their evaluation of the data to increase confidence in parents.
The CDC now expands vaccine recommendations to the 28 million children in this age group. Though children are at lower risk of becoming severely ill with COVID-19, children can have both short and long term health complications and spread the virus to others. Though the risk of severe illness is lower, children can still become very sick and in some cases, complications from infection can lead to hospitalization or death.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), children ages 5-11 years old will be vaccinated with two 10-microgram doses administered 21 days apart. The dosage is one-third of the adolescent and adult dose. Dosages are determined by age, not a child’s size or weight.
The COVID-19 vaccine can be given at the same time as other routine vaccines but should be done in a different injection site. The CDC and AAP also recommend children with prior COVID-19 infection get vaccinated.
Children with underlying medical conditions are more at risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Vaccinations help protect children younger than five years old who cannot receive the vaccine. Learn more about the CDC’s recommendations for vaccinating children and teens.
COVID-19 in the U.S. and Missouri
As of Nov. 4, 78.4% of people ages 12 and older across the U.S. have had at least one vaccination. Percentages of vaccinations directly correlate with age groups, with older Americans having the highest rate of vaccinations.
Out of the total 222,591,394 people (67% of the population) that have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose:
- 222,357,053 (78.4%) are ages 12 and older.
- 207,344,425 (80.3%) are ages 18 and older.
- 53,518,351 (97.8%) are ages 65 and older.
Out of the total 193,227,813 people (58.2% of the population) that have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19:
- 193,091,922 (68.1%) are ages 12 and older.
- 180,434,243 (69.9%) are ages 18 and older.
- 46,797,662 (85.6%) are ages 65 and older.
Though the correlation between age group and percentage vaccinated remains true for Lafayette County, Missouri, the vaccination rates across all ages fall far lower.
As of Nov. 4, the total number of fully vaccinated people in Lafayette County, Missouri was 13,613 – less than half (41.6%) of the county’s population.
- Ages 12+: 15,250 people (54.7%) have received one dose and 13,612 (48.8%) have received both.
- Ages 18+: 14,434 people (57.3%) have received one dose and 12,907 (51.3%) have received both.
- Ages 65+: 4,914 people (79.3%) have received one dose and 4,553 (73.5%) have received both.
The transmission rate is currently rated high in Missouri, with CDC recommending all county residents to wear a mask in public, indoor settings. As the holiday season arrives, CDC recommends including safety measures in any gathering or travel plans.
Protect yourself and others, especially during flu season, by scheduling a free flu shot, COVID-19 test, vaccine, and/or booster shot. Individuals can receive the flu shot at the same time they receive the COVID-19 booster shot. Flu vaccines are recommended annually for everyone six months and older. Find a flu shot near you at MOStopsFlu.com.
How Missourians can get a free COVID-19 vaccine:
- Check for vaccine appointments at Vaccines.gov, where you can search for availability by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).
- Call the CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine hotline at 1.800.232.0233 (or TTY 1.888.720.7489). Help is available in multiple languages.
- Locate local vaccination events in Missouri at MOStopsCovid.com.
- Seniors and homebound adults can make arrangements using information at MOStopsCovid.com/seniors
- Missouri DHSS COVID-19 Public Hotline
- Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
- Missouri DHSS COVID-19 Public Hotline
How Missourians can get a free COVID-19 test:
- Walk in or schedule an appointment for a test at one of the state’s free community testing sites: COVID-19 Community Testing Sites.
- Order a test through the state’s free at-home COVID-19 testing program.
Find a free testing option near you through the federal pharmacy locations.