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Sign up your family members, friends and neighbors for the COVID-19 vaccine

How do I help someone sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine?

To help a family member, friend, co-worker or neighbor sign up to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, all you need are access to a computer or smartphone and a little information.

Health care systems; city, county and state health departments; and pharmacies have websites set up to register people for vaccinations. You can go to these sites, like BJC’s website, directly, or go to the St. Louis Regional Health Commission’s VaccinateSTL site to link to several sites in the region.

You will need to enter the name, address, contact information and date of birth of the person you are registering. You may also be asked to enter any health risks the person may have that would make them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

You will not be asked to enter a Social Security number or insurance information.

When will they receive the vaccine?

Vaccine appointments are currently limited by availability of doses and eligibility requirements. So those registered to receive the vaccine may still have to wait several weeks for an available appointment.

However, with three vaccines authorized for emergency use in the U.S. (Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen) and a fourth vaccine (AstraZeneca) currently under review, and with Missouri scheduled to drop eligibility requirements soon, the wait times should be getting shorter.

What does it cost to receive the vaccine?

There is no cost to anyone who receives the vaccine. If you have insurance, your vaccine provider may bill your insurance a fee for administration of the vaccine only.

Is the vaccine safe?

The COVID-19 vaccine was developed to give protection against the virus. Vaccine developers used what we already know about previous coronaviruses (COVID-19 is just the most recent) and technology based on the way our bodies work every day to produce effective and safe vaccines — in record time.

Top scientists around the world got together to work on the vaccines using technology (messenger RNA for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and viral vector for the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine) that gives instructions to our cells to make a harmless piece of a protein. The protein, which is found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19, triggers the immune system to make antibodies that protect those vaccinated from infection by the COVID-19 virus.

Funding provided by the federal government allowed vaccine developers to pursue vaccine development and safety testing at the same time, instead of one phase at a time. This support moved the process along more quickly, without any shortcuts in the development, effectiveness and safety testing process.

Be assured that none of these vaccines contain any live COVID-19 virus, so they cannot give you COVID-19.

Drug companies enrolled tens of thousands of people of different ethnicities, ages and health risks to test the vaccine. In the trials for all of these vaccines, at least 30 percent of the trial participants were people of color.

The results are vaccines that are effective in preventing COVID-19 and highly effective at reducing severe illness and hospitalization.

Does the vaccine have side effects?

Most people have nothing more than a sore arm after receiving the vaccine. A very small percentage of those who receive the vaccine have side effects significant enough to interfere with their usual daily activities. Side effects may include fever, headache, fatigue, and body or muscle aches in the days immediately following vaccination. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that your body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why should you register others for the vaccine?

Getting vaccinated not only keeps the individual from getting sick with COVID-19, it helps protect all of us.

As more people in the community get vaccinated against COVID-19, fewer people remain vulnerable to getting sick from the disease. When enough individuals become immune to COVID-19 by being vaccinated or having the disease, the community can develop greater “herd immunity,” which means those who live in the community have a lower risk of developing it. Current estimates are that up to 85% of people will need to become immune to COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity — and vaccination is the safest way to achieve this.

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