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 COVID-19 Vaccine pattern background

How to Get Vaccinated

Residents with disabilities or without computer access can call 833-540-0473 between 8:00 am and 8:30 pm 7 days a week for assistance with appointments.

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The COVID-19 Vaccine is free to all eligible persons.
Immigration status and insurance are not required.
Medical information is protected by law.

How to get vaccinated in LA County

To be vaccinated at a site run by LA County Public Health:
You only need to show

  1. Proof of age, and
  2. Minors age 12-17 only - Consent form

For minors, see webpage for details

Vaccine Teen Forum Thumbnail

Free COVID-19 vaccines are available for everyone age 12 and over. You do not need to have health insurance and you will not be asked about your immigration status. Vaccines are offered at hundreds of locations across LA County. These include clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, places of worship, and mobile clinics. Many sites are open late and on weekends and no appointment needed at many locations. Click here to find a location near you.

Beware of misinformation that is spreading about the vaccines. All 3 COVID vaccines are safe and effective. Visit this webpage and the CDC website for reliable information about COVID-19 vaccines.

See below for COVID-19 FAQs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated 04/30/21

This update provides information on the three COVID-19 vaccines that are now authorized in the US. These vaccines are made by Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen/Johnson & Johnson (J&J).

Vaccination is a safe and effective way to prevent disease. Vaccines save millions of lives each year. When we get vaccinated, we aren’t just protecting ourselves, but also those around us. You can help stop the pandemic by getting a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available to you.

In the vaccine studies, all 3 vaccines were very effective at preventing severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths from COVID-19. You can’t directly compare the results of the trials for the J&J/Janssen and the mRNA vaccines because:

  • The studies were done at different times and in different locations - so the level of infection in the communities and the type and number of viral variants varied.
  • The studies used different groups of people who had different rates of underlying illness.
  • The studies used different definitions of cases, side effects, and serious events.

Because all three vaccines performed equally well at preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and deaths, the best vaccine to get is the one that is being offered to you.

No. If you have insurance, your doctor or pharmacy may charge your insurance company a fee for giving the vaccine. People without health insurance can get COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. There are no out-of-pocket payments for anyone.

No. COVID-19 vaccine is being given to Los Angeles County residents at no cost regardless of immigration status. You should not be asked about your immigration status when you get a COVID vaccine. Your medical information is private and getting a COVID-19 vaccine does not affect your immigration status.

Public Health and county, city, community, and healthcare partners are working together to vaccinate people in eligible groups at many different locations. Vaccines are available at over 600 vaccination sites throughout LA County.

These include:

  • Large vaccination sites called PODs (Point of Dispensing sites) or hubs
  • Health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs)
  • Pharmacies
  • Some workplaces, including hospitals
  • Some senior housing developments and senior centers
  • Mobile vaccination units
  • Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and long-term care facilities with congregate living, such as assisted living
  • Special community vaccination sites run by Public Health and county, city, community, and healthcare partners

Visit VaccinateLACounty.com, click on “How to Make an Appointment” and follow the steps on the webpage. Residents with disabilities or without computer access can call 1-833-540-0473 between 8:00 am and 8:30 pm 7 days a week for assistance with appointments.

You can also check with your usual healthcare provider as you may be able to be vaccinated at one of their facilities. A list of facilities and providers offering vaccine is available on VaccinateLACounty.com or by clicking here.

Visit the appointment webpage (see instructions above) and look for a location that offers the same type of vaccine that you got for your first dose. The type of vaccine is shown next to the name of the location on the webpage and/or in the appointment booking system. Be sure to bring your CDC vaccination card and Photo ID to your 2nd dose appointment.

  • For the J&J/Janssen vaccine, you just need a single dose.
  • The Pfizer vaccine is given as 2 doses 21 days apart.
  • The Moderna vaccine needs 2 doses given 28 days apart.
  • If you are late getting the second dose of a 2-dose series, you do not need to start over. It is important to get the same kind of vaccine for both doses.

With all 3 vaccines, you are not considered to be fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after your last vaccine.

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series (the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines), or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine (the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine)

If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated. We don’t know how long the protection from the vaccine will last yet. This means we don’t know if you will need to get a booster dose in the future.

Covered Employees in the public or private sectors who work for employers with more than 25 employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of COVID-19 related sick leave from January 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021. This includes attending a vaccine appointment or being unable to work or telework due to vaccine-related symptoms. For more information, see the 2021 COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave FAQs and poster.

The CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card (white card) is the official proof of vaccination. Everyone should be given one when they are vaccinated. Please keep it safe as it cannot be replaced. Consider taking a photo or making a photocopy of it.

If you did not get a white card, or you lost it, there are 2 ways to get a copy of your official record from the state’s California Immunization Registry (CAIR).

  • Ask your primary care provider to look up your vaccination record in the California state immunization registry (CAIR) and give you a copy.
  • Request a copy of your vaccination record directly from the state immunization registry, CAIR. Please wait at least 2-3 weeks after you are vaccinated before making the request and know that this request may take an additional 2-3 weeks given the high demand. Complete the online Authorization To Release Form. Have a scan or photo of a current official picture ID ready to upload as the form must be completed in a single session. You will receive a record by email. The record can only be requested online and can only be provided by email. For more information, visit cairweb.org.

  • The CDC white card or CAIR record is your official proof of your COVID vaccination. You may receive a digital record in addition to your white card as a convenience, but it may not be accepted at all places/companies as the official proof of vaccination.
  • Several different kinds of digital reminders and records are being used in LA County. The type depends on the record keeping system used by the provider who administered the vaccine. Most systems require the person being vaccinated to give an email address and/or cell phone number when they make an appointment or get vaccinated. Ask your provider when you get your vaccine about a digital record.
  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has partnered with Healthvana to provide a digital copy of the vaccination record to people who are vaccinated at Department of Public Health locations, select community clinics (that are not part of a hospital system), pharmacies, or FEMA sites in Los Angeles County. For more information on Healthvana and electronic records, see the DPH “After you get a vaccine” webpage.

Vaccines work by preparing your body��s natural defenses to recognize and fight off germs.

  • Some vaccines contain dead or weakened versions of the germ.
  • Others contain substances made to look like part of the germ.
  • The COVID-19 vaccines teach the body to make proteins that look like part of the germ. (See the question “How do the COVID-19 vaccines work?” for more information).

When you get a vaccine, your immune system responds.

It:

  • Makes antibodies. These are proteins produced naturally by the immune system to fight disease.
  • Prepares your immune cells to respond to future infection.
  • Remembers the disease and how to fight it. If you are exposed to the germ after getting the vaccine, your immune system can quickly destroy it before you become sick.

This is what makes vaccines so effective. Instead of treating a disease after it happens, vaccines can prevent us from getting sick in the first place.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines contain the virus that causes COVID-19 in any form. All 3 COVID-19 vaccines work by teaching our cells how to make harmless spike proteins (the crown-like spikes on the surface of the COVID-19 virus). Making the spike protein does not harm our cells.

  • When we are vaccinated, the spike proteins show on the surfaces of our cells. Our immune system sees them and knows that they don’t belong there.
  • Our bodies react by building an immune response. It makes antibodies that can act against the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein and it prepares immune cells. This will protect us if we are exposed to the virus in the future.

The COVID-19 vaccines differ in how they teach our cells to make the spike protein

  • The vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are called mRNA vaccines. Messenger RNA (mRNA) is genetic material that tells our bodies how to make proteins. The mRNA in the vaccine is wrapped in oily bubbles (known as lipid nanoparticles or LNPs). When the mRNA enters our cells, it teaches them how to make copies of the spike protein.
  • The vaccine made by J&J/Janssen Is called a viral vector vaccine. It is made of genetic instructions (DNA) inside a ‘viral vector’ that is used to carry the DNA into our cells. (The viral vector is a harmless version of a common cold virus). Our cells read the genetic material and make mRNA, and this mRNA teaches our cells to make the spike protein.

You can learn more on the Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work CDC website.

For a full list of ingredients, please see each vaccine’s Fact Sheet for Recipients and Caregivers: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, and J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine. None of the vaccines contain eggs, gelatin, latex, or preservatives.

No, none of COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States contain any fetal tissue or fetal cells.

  • Pfizer and Moderna did not use any fetal cell lines to develop or produce their COVID-19 vaccines. But they did use a fetal cell line for laboratory testing before their vaccines were tested on people.
  • Johnson & Johnson used a fetal cell line to develop and test their COVID-19 vaccine. They also use it for production. The COVID-19 vaccines themselves do not contain any fetal cells.

The cell lines were made in laboratories from cells from 2 abortions conducted in 1973 and 1985. None of the fetal cells used came from a recent abortion or from an abortion done for the sole purpose of vaccine development or other research.

The Catholic Church has reviewed the use of fetal cells for this purpose and gone on to state that “it is morally acceptable to receive COVID-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.” If this issue is of concern to you, we encourage you to review the document COVID-19 Vaccine and Fetal Cell Lines carefully so you can make an informed decision about getting vaccinated.

No. The vaccines cannot give you COVID-19. But you could have been infected before you got the vaccine and then started showing symptoms afterwards. It can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear after you have been infected. It is also possible to get infected after you get vaccinated, because it takes time for your body to build immunity and, even though the vaccines are very effective, none are 100%.

None of the COVID-19 vaccines have the virus that causes COVID-19 in them. The viral vector in the J&J/Janssen vaccine is a harmless version of a common cold virus. It can’t replicate inside our cells or cause illness and it cannot change our DNA in any way.

Sometimes people get a fever or feel tired for a day or so after getting a vaccine. These vaccine side-effects are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity.

You may get side-effects, like the ones after the flu vaccine or shingles vaccine after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. For two-dose vaccines, side-effects are more common after the second dose. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away within a day or two. Not everyone gets side-effects. They may include:

  • Fever, chills, and muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Sore or red arm

Side effects are normal and a sign that the vaccine is working. It shows your body is learning to fight a germ and build up immunity. It is important to get the second dose even if you get side effects after the first dose unless a vaccination provider or your doctor tells you not to.

Long-term side effects following any vaccination are extremely rare. Vaccine monitoring has historically shown that if side effects are going to happen, they generally happen within six weeks of receiving a vaccine dose. For this reason, the Food and Drug Administration required each of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines to be studied for at least two months (eight weeks) after the final dose. CDC continues to closely monitor COVID-19 vaccines. If scientists find a connection between a safety issue and a vaccine, FDA and the vaccine manufacturer will work toward an appropriate solution to address the specific safety concern (for example, a problem with a specific lot, a manufacturing issue, or the vaccine itself). This is what is happening after safety monitoring detected an unusual type of blood clot in women who received the J&J vaccine (see below).

On 4/13/21, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. This was because 6 women in the US developed an unusual type of blood clot and a low platelet count 6-13 days after they received the vaccine. The type of blood clot is called cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST). These cases are very rare - almost 7 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the US and as of 4/13/21 there have only been 6 reported cases. The pause was recommended out of an abundance of caution while the FDA and the CDC review the data. For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Pause.

If you have an adverse event (possible side effect) after you are vaccinated, even if you aren't sure that the vaccine caused it, please report it to VAERS. The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System is an early warning system that the FDA and CDC use to detect possible safety problems. To make a report, call 1-800-822-7967 or visit https://vaers.hhs.gov/reportevent.html.

If you have signed up for V-Safe, CDC’s after vaccination health checker, you can also report your symptoms through the smart phone app.

Neither VAERS nor V-safe provide medical advice. If you have symptoms or health problems that concern you at any time following COVID-19 vaccination, please contact your healthcare provider or seek medical treatment.

No. Vaccines won’t cause you to test positive on a PCR or antigen viral test (like the swab test) that looks for current COVID-19 infection. You may test positive on some antibody (blood) tests. This is because one of the ways that vaccines work is to teach your body to make antibodies.

See the public health testing webpage ph.lacounty.gov/covidtests to learn more about COVID-19 tests.

Yes. You do need the vaccine even if you have had COVID-19. We don’t yet know how long you are protected after you have had COVID-19, so it is important to have the vaccine to strengthen your immunity. It is safe to get the vaccine after getting COVID-19 but you should wait until after your isolation period is over. This is so that you don’t infect healthcare workers and others when you go to get vaccinated. If you have had monoclonal antibody or convalescent treatment, you should wait for 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

People under the age of 12 cannot get COVID-19 vaccine at this time. There isn’t enough information available yet about the use of these vaccines in children under 12. People age 12-17 can get the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and J&J/Janssen vaccines are for people 18 and older.

Yes. People with weak immune systems may be at higher risk of getting COVID-19 and more likely to become very sick. They can get any of the 3 vaccines but are advised to talk to their doctor about the best time to be vaccinated. The vaccine studies included some people with weak immune systems, such as cancer and stable HIV and their side effects were not different. But we don’t know how well the vaccines will work for people with weak immune systems compared to people with normal immune systems.

It depends.

  • People who are allergic to things like oral medication, food, pets, or pollen, or people who have a family history of allergies, can be vaccinated.
  • But people who have had an allergic reaction to a vaccine, injectable therapy, polyethylene glycol (PEG), or polysorbate should talk to their doctor to decide if it is safe for them to get vaccinated.
  • There is a small risk of severe allergic reaction with any vaccine.
  • Everyone is observed for allergic reactions after getting a COVID-19 vaccine
    Information about allergic reactions may change. Be sure to check the latest guidance on the CDC COVID-19 Vaccines and Allergic Reactions webpage and talk to your doctor.

Yes. Pregnant women can choose to receive any of the 3 vaccines, but it is a personal decision, and they may want to talk it through with their doctor.

  • Pregnant women who get COVID-19 are more likely to get sick. They may also be more likely to get pregnancy complications like preterm birth.
  • There is limited information about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines during pregnancy as pregnant women were not included in the vaccine studies. However, based on what we know about how these vaccines work, experts do not believe they pose a risk.
    • Pregnant women were not enrolled in the studies, but animal studies did not show any safety concerns.
    • The same vector in the J&J/Janssen vaccine was used in pregnant women in other trials and found to be safe for both mother and infant.
    • Many pregnant women who have received the vaccine are being monitored and so far, no safety concerns have been identified.

Yes. Lactating women were not included in the vaccine studies so there are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in these women or the effects of the vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production. However, based on what we know about how these vaccines work, they are not thought to be a risk for the mother or baby. Women who are breastfeeding may choose to be vaccinated.

You should get tested and stay home and away from others if you have:

  • Vaccine side-effects that last more than 2 days
  • Symptoms that start more than 2 days after you get the vaccine
  • Cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, sore throat, or new los of taste or smell – these symptoms are NOT side effects of the vaccine

It is still important to watch out for symptoms of COVID-19 even if you have been vaccinated, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick.

We need to do as much as we can to stop the pandemic. Vaccines boost your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masks and social distancing, help lower your chance of being exposed to or spreading the virus. Together, these tools offer the best protection.

For more information see the document ‘If i am fully vaccinated, when can i go without a mask?

If you do not have symptoms and you are fully vaccinated you do not need to quarantine or get tested (unless you live in a group setting like a correctional or detention facility or group home). But you must monitor your health for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days and continue to protect yourself and others.
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Public Health has made reasonable efforts to provide accurate translation. However, no computerized translation is perfect and is not intended to replace traditional translation methods. If questions arise concerning the accuracy of the information, please refer to the English edition of the website, which is the official version.

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