December 14, 2020

DHSS issues statewide order for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administration

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, MO -- Today, Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) signed the standing order for Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administration. 

“We are incredibly excited that this day has arrived, and our team spent the weekend working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to incorporate their final recommendations which were released yesterday morning,” said Williams. Their recommendations are very comprehensive and carefully considered and are reflected in the statewide order issued today by DHSS.”

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, which was authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday night, is a series of two doses administered three weeks apart. 

Below are common questions that are answered by the latest guidance issued.

  • 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 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, 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 an 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.

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.

“We encourage Missourians to take time to learn about the vaccine, get their questions answered and consider vaccination to help protect themselves and their loved ones. Together, we can strengthen our communities against this virus,” said Williams. 

Residents and providers are encouraged to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines in Missouri at


Additional Resources:

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo