What You Need to Know About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Rebecca Gernon M.D — February 10, 2021

In December, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations for two vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective in the prevention of COVID-19. Since then, more than 27 million doses have been distributed across the United States. For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, there’s hope.

Yet despite being almost 95% effective against infection and spread of the virus, many people have ongoing questions about the effectiveness, side effects, cost and availability of the vaccines.1 Understanding the facts about the COVID-19 vaccines can protect you against misinformation.

We know that routine vaccinations are an important tool in the prevention of life-threatening diseases. Without vaccines, the community is at risk for getting seriously ill from preventable diseases like measles and whooping cough. Unfortunately, since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, many Americans have delayed or stopped receiving vaccines and other vital routine and preventive care. In fact, a recent Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Health of America report noted that 40 percent of parents nationwide confirm their children have missed vaccinations due to COVID-19—a development that could put our children and community at significant risk of serious diseases. 

At Blue KC, we believe it’s critical that the Kansas City community be informed and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. With the health and well-being of our community at the forefront of our efforts, we strive to be a resource for members of our community on all vaccinations.

With distribution increasing for the current COVID-19 vaccines, here’s what you should know:  

Vaccines are safe.

Vaccines save millions of lives each year by helping your immune system flight infection faster and more effectively. When you get a vaccine, your immune response is sparked, helping your body fight off infection if exposed to the disease-causing germ later on.

Vaccines are subject to extensive clinical trials focused on safety overseen by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to ensure they are safe and effective before they are distributed to communities—and testing doesn’t stop there. Once administered, they are continuously monitored and evaluated for any potential safety concerns.

The COVID-19 vaccine is very effective.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available have been shown to be highly effective at preventing the disease and may help keep you from experiencing serious symptoms if you do contract the virus.  

The COVID-19 vaccine will not give you the virus, but you may experience mild side effects.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. There are several different types of vaccines in development. However, the goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

Sometimes this process can cause symptoms such mild pain around the injection area or a fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available for some in Kansas City.

Vaccine distribution varies by state. Many are prioritizing healthcare workers who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19 and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. In general, we expect essential workers and those who fall into high-risk categories due to age or underlying conditions will be next. Younger and healthier groups will likely be eligible to get the vaccine following those with higher priority. To learn more about when you might be able to receive the vaccine, you can complete this survey from the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department. For residents outside of the Kansas City metro, visit:

The COVID-19 vaccine is currently being administered at no cost to recipients.

At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine is being administered at no cost. Blue KC will continue to follow federal guidance and will continue to update members as we have more information.  

Access to the COVID-19 vaccine is an important step toward overcoming the pandemic. While we are encouraged by the hopeful vaccine results, controlling the pandemic doesn’t end here. Until enough people are vaccinated and caseloads drop, it’s crucial for all Kansas Citians to continue following the CDC’s guidance by wearing a mask, staying six feet apart and avoiding crowds.

We are continually monitoring developments of the COVID-19 vaccine and what they mean for our members and the community For the latest updates on COVID-19 from Blue KC, please visit our website.

1COVID-19 and Your Health. (2020, February 11). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.