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Following are answers from Mercy experts to some of the most common questions about the COVID-19 virus, vaccine, vaccination appointments and caring for children. We’ll continue to update these as new information becomes available.
Mercy is offering COVID-19 vaccine appointments to anyone age 12 and older in most of the communities we serve. We encourage you to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment at the location nearest you. Patients ages 12-17 should only schedule appointments at locations providing the Pfizer vaccine and must have a parent or guardian present to be vaccinated.
If you schedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment through mercy.net, your appointment information will be available on the final screen where you confirm your appointment. If you are a MyMercy user, your appointment will be accessible in MyMercy and you will receive appointment reminders through MyMercy.
Please bring a valid ID and insurance card. Patients under the age of 18 must have a parent or guardian present to be vaccinated. If you are able to do so, please print, complete and bring your consent form to your appointment.
The COVID-19 vaccination is administered as a shot in the arm. Of the three vaccines that are currently available for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), two require a second dose to be fully effective. Current guidance recommends 21-28 days between the first and second vaccinations.
Following your COVID-19 vaccination, you will be monitored for a reaction for 15 to 30 minutes at the vaccine clinic. Information will be provided on how to report side effects after you leave. In the rare event you develop a severe allergic reaction after leaving, go to your nearest emergency room or call 911.
To cancel or reschedule your COVID-19 vaccine appointment with Mercy, please call 833-364-6777 and follow the prompts. If you request to reschedule, a Mercy team member will call you to schedule your new appointment time.
If you provided a cell phone number when you registered for your vaccine appointment, you’ll receive a text message within 24 hours of your appointment giving you the option to confirm, reschedule or cancel your appointment via text message. If you request to reschedule, a Mercy team member will call you to schedule your new appointment time.
If you provided a landline number when you registered for your vaccine appointment, you’ll receive a phone call within 24 hours of your appointment giving you the option to confirm, reschedule or cancel your appointment. If you request to reschedule, a Mercy team member will call you to schedule your new appointment time.
Mercy cannot replace your vaccine card, but you can retrieve your vaccination verification through MyMercy or by contacting the medical records department in your community.
If you have an existing MyMercy account, login via the MyMercy app or MyMercy.net and do the following:
If you received your COVID-19 vaccination at Mercy and do not have an existing MyMercy account, visit MyMercy.net to setup your MyMercy account using your patient information. Once your account is setup, login the app and do the following:
If you have difficulty setting up your account, please call 888-986-3729 for technical support.
If you are unable to setup a MyMercy account, please contact the Mercy medical records department* in your community to get a copy of your immunization records.
*There may be a cost associated with any records provided by Mercy’s medical records department.
Healthcare workers will be prioritized to get the COVID-19 vaccine for the protection of our patients, Mercy co-workers, physicians and the community. Residents of long-term care facilities have also been prioritized by the CDC.
Yes. You won’t be charged for the COVID-19 vaccine, but state guidelines allow Mercy to charge health plans a small fee to cover the costs of providing staff and space for vaccination clinics.
While the first COVID-19 vaccines are new to people, they are based on science that is more than 30 years old. These vaccines provide our bodies with only part of the genetic code of COVID (not a full weakened or dead virus-like some vaccines). From that code, our bodies produce proteins that are harmless on their own, but they allow our immune systems to produce antibodies in response. Those antibodies will then be able to recognize and attack COVID-19 if we're exposed and it’s introduced into our body.
Everyone should get vaccinated against COVID-19. The vaccine will be a major factor in reducing the public health threat posed by the pandemic and will ultimately save lives and reduce hospitalizations. We will follow CDC guidelines to distribute the vaccine in a fair, ethical and transparent way.
Yes. Due to serious health risks with the virus and the possibility of reinfection, the CDC says you should get vaccinated even if you have previously had COVID-19. Ask your Mercy provider about timing based on how long you’ve been symptom-free.
Any vaccine or medication can cause side effects. You may experience common side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine such as swelling and sore arm where you got the shot along with an overall low-grade fever, chills, tiredness or headache that goes away within a few days. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity. Safety is the top priority of any vaccine. Early results from the first COVID-19 vaccines tested in people show they worked as intended with no serious side effects. Talk with your Mercy provider about any specific concerns you may have.
Until we have more data on how well the COVID-19 vaccines work, we won’t know how long immunity lasts after vaccination. Experts are working to learn more about both vaccine-induced immunity and natural immunity. The CDC will provide updates as new information becomes available.
We won’t know how long immunity lasts until we have more data on how well it works over a longer period of time. The protection someone gains from having an infection (called natural immunity) varies depending on the disease, and it varies from person to person. Since this virus is new, we don’t know how long natural immunity might last.
Pregnant women were not part of COVID-19 clinical trials, but experts cited real-world examples to explain their confidence in COVID-19 vaccine safety during pregnancy. Per the FDA and CDC guidance, healthcare workers who are pregnant or breastfeeding may receive the vaccine at their own discretion. Talk with your Mercy provider about any specific concerns you may have.
Those with certain underlying medical conditions are at high risk for developing severe COVID-19 illness and, regardless of age, are a high priority group for receiving the vaccine. Mercy providers will work to get you the best information so you can make an informed decision about the vaccine for yourself and your family.
Yes, the seasonal flu vaccine is unable to provide immunity against the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 vaccines have been proven effective and are available for use with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. When the FDA grants EUA, it’s in the absence of adequate, approved, or available alternatives to prevent serious or life-threatening diseases, including public health emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC still recommends wearing a mask, proper handwashing and social distancing after COVID-19 vaccination. Additionally, the annual flu vaccination is still recommended. This guidance may change with more data about how effective the vaccine is over the long term.
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person, mainly when they are in close contact with one another (less than six feet). When an infected person coughs or sneezes, this spreads respiratory droplets that can then infect another person nearby. It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. Some recent studies also have suggested that COVID-19 may be spread by people who are not showing symptoms.
90% of COVID-19 patients will have a fever and 70% will have a dry cough. Some will have diarrhea, although by itself this is not usually a sign of COVID-19. Those who become acutely ill will experience shortness of breath.
Most patients who have the virus will have symptoms but in most cases (about 80%) the symptoms will be mild. People who are older, have chronic diseases or have a weakened immune system are at higher risk of complications if infected.
If you have difficulty breathing - call ahead to your nearest emergency room and let them know your symptoms and that you’re on your way. That will help them prepare for your arrival.
Not everyone should be tested for COVID-19. If you are symptomatic, you should also stay home and away from others and take care of yourself as you would with other viruses. If you are experiencing worsening symptoms, please contact your primary physician’s office.
People can help protect themselves from respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 with everyday preventive actions.
If you are sick, to keep from spreading respiratory illness to others, you should:
This information changes daily, so please visit the Centers for Disease Control website for the most up-to-date COVID-19 information.
According to the World Health Organization, people with mild forms of COVID-19 recover in about two weeks, while people with severe or critical forms of COVID-19 recover within three to six weeks.
No. This is a pandemic that will continue until a large percentage of the population is inoculated. The best ways to keep yourself safe are:
All Mercy locations and services are now open, with strict standards to keep patients and caregivers safe. Please bring a cloth mask with you and wear it from the time you enter the facility until you leave. This is not only for your protection but for that of the other patients and caregivers around you.
For your convenience and comfort, we also offer video visits. Meet with a primary care provider or specialist on your phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. Existing patients can schedule a video visit through MyMercy. If you don’t currently have a MyMercy account, you can quickly create one.
The seasonal flu affects tens of thousands of Americans each year and this year, it is possible to get the flu at the same time as COVID-19. Protecting yourself and others is more important than ever. Please do your part by getting a flu shot and following other CDC guidelines. Learn more about the flu and schedule an appointment for your flu shot.
COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that usually causes mild symptoms in kids. However, emergencies can occur. Seek care immediately if your child develops the following symptoms:
For most kids, the symptoms of COVID-19 are similar to other respiratory illnesses. Here are the common signs and ways parents can help:
Asthma and COVID-19 both affect the lungs, so it’s important to keep your child’s asthma well-controlled. Continue following your child’s asthma action plan and contact their Mercy provider with any concerns. Make sure you have enough asthma medication and supplies and work with your child’s doctor if you need refills. Experts say using a nebulizer may increase the amount of virus in the air if your child has COVID-19, potentially spreading the virus to others more easily. Talk with your Mercy provider about whether an inhaler is appropriate for your child.
If your child has a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, you can schedule a video visit or in-person visit with your Mercy provider for evaluation and testing based on their recommendation. Your child may need a follow-up visit if symptoms persist. Viral infections can sometimes progress to infections that need treatment with antibiotics, such as a sinus infection, ear infection or pneumonia.
While most kids with COVID-19 have mild symptoms that get better on their own, a very small percentage can develop a condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). This syndrome causes inflammation that can lead to lasting organ damage, especially to the heart. Symptoms can develop within four weeks of exposure to the new COVID-19. MIS-C seems to affect children ages 2 to 15 and hasn’t been reported in babies. Fortunately, MIS-C is treatable with medications. Kids with potential MIS-C symptoms should be seen by a Mercy provider. Symptoms include a fever higher than 100.4⁰ in addition to any of the following symptoms:
When a child has COVID-19, here are some ways others in the household can protect themselves:
Do the following to help your family members avoid the COVID-19 virus:
Many schools and daycare facilities require release-from-quarantine letters from a physician or public health department before kids can return. Children who become severely ill from COVID-19 or who have weakened immune systems may need to quarantine differently. Contact your child’s Mercy provider for more information.
Contact your Mercy OB/GYN to discuss the appropriate schedule and location for your prenatal visits. This will vary depending on your stage of pregnancy and health.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, please wear a mask to your appointment. All Mercy Clinic locations are limiting visitors to one per patient. These temporary visitor limits are in place for the safety of our patients, care teams and communities.
Rest assured Mercy is following all guidelines to protect you and your baby during childbirth. We're taking measures like isolating patients who test positive for the virus, screening patients and visitors at hospital entrances and limiting visitors.
In addition, all Mercy caregivers must pass daily screenings and use personal protective equipment (PPE) while on duty. Mercy also supports the early discharge recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists when both mother and baby are healthy.
Doulas are considered part of your healthcare team and do not count as a visitor.
*Exceptions apply in our Joplin/Carthage, Ada and Ardmore communities.
You're allowed two support people during childbirth. After delivery, the additional support person must leave. Both people in your support team must be at least 18 years old and must be symptom-free. For safety reasons, your main support person must be the same person throughout your stay. Your support person will be screened at the hospital entrance each time they enter.