Frequently Asked Questions
How are vaccines tested?
The vaccine first goes through pre-clinical testing for safety and efficacy on animals in a laboratory setting. Then, three phases of clinical trials in humans are conducted, and in each phase the vaccine is also tested for safety and effectiveness. These phases are strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the third phase, tens of thousands of people are recruited, and researchers compare those who are given the vaccine with those who are not. The FDA then reviews all the data. You can learn more about how vaccines are tested here.
How effective are vaccines at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, death?
Large-scale clinical trials found that getting a COVID-19 vaccine prevented most participants from getting sick with COVID-19. In the COVID-19 vaccine studies, all 3 vaccines were found to be very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death.
What does efficacy mean?
Vaccine efficacy is determined in large-scale clinical trials, where there are two groups, the vaccinated and the unvaccianted, and measures the proportionate reduction in cases among vaccinated persons. The greater the percentage reduction of illness in the vaccinated group, the greater the vaccine efficacy. The clinical trials for the 3 vaccines were done at different times and in different locations, so the results of the studies cannot be directly compared.
Can the COVID-19 vaccine give me COVID? Is there a live virus in the vaccine?
There is no live virus in the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. They cannot give you COVID. The vaccines teach your body to recognize and fight the COVID-19 virus.
Who pays for the vaccinations?
The federal government is providing the vaccine at no cost to all people living in the U.S., regardless of health insurance or immigration status.
I already had COVID-19. Do I need to get the vaccine?
Yes, it is recommended that you still get the vaccine because we don’t know how long immune protection from getting sick with COVID-19 lasts, and it is possible, though rare, to get reinfected.
What if I have a medical condition?
You can receive the vaccine as long as you have not had an immediate or severe allergic reaction to a COVID-19 vaccine or an ingredient in the vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider. Information is not yet available about the safety of the vaccines for people with weakened immune systems or autoimmune conditions. Getting the vaccine is an important consideration for those with underlying medical conditions because you might be at increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19.
Vaccination considerations for those with underlying medical conditions
How to make an appointment?
As of 4/15, anyone over 16 years old can receive a vaccine in LA County. (Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available for 18+ only). You cannot get the vaccine if you are under 16.
Note: As of April 14, the CDC and FDA are recommending a pause in the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine out of an abundance of caution while they are investigating 6 cases of a rare and severe type of blood clot in individuals in the U.S. after receiving this vaccine.
Setting an Appointment
If you are an LA County resident, you can go to LA County Public Health website to make an appointment by 1) searching an appointment system, 2) searching for an appointment at a certain type of vaccination location (clinic, hospital, pharmacy, large point of dispensing (POD) site), or 3) using a map to find a vaccination site near you.
You can also go to MyTurn.CA.gov, or the websites of Kaiser Permanente (you do not need to be a member), CVS Pharmacy, Ralphs Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Albertsons, Vons, or participating Costco pharmacies.
Appointments By Phone (LA County) – (833) 540-0473, between 8:00 am and 8:30 pm, 7 days a week
When to get your second dose?
With the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, you need 2 doses to get the most protection:
- Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
- For example, if you got a Pfizer vaccine on Tuesday February 2, your second dose is due on Tuesday February 23.
- Moderna doses should be given 4 weeks (28 days) apart
- For example, if you got a Moderna vaccine on Tuesday February 2, your second dose is due on Tuesday March 2.
Your second dose should be given as close to this recommended interval as possible. However, if this is not possible, the second dose may be given up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) vaccine only needs one dose.
What to Know in Advance/What to Expect?
- Photo ID (foreign passports accepted)
- You do not need health insurance or proof citizenship
- Health insurance cards (if any – you will not be turned away for lack of insurance)
- Proof you are age 16 or older
- Proof you live or work in LA County for some sites, such as driver’s license, California ID card or REAL ID card (from the DMV), postmarked letter, utility bill, vehicle registration, rent receipt or lease or letter from landlord, school or employment document
What to expect during your appointment
- Do not take over the counter medication such as Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin before your vaccination; it may make the vaccine not as effective.
- You will need to wear a face mask, you will be monitored for 15 minutes at the site after you receive the injection in case you have an allergic reaction. If you have had an allergic reaction to a vaccine in the past, you will be monitored for 30 minutes. There will be precautionary measures available on site such as in case you have an allergic reaction.
- Vaccine is free
- If you are under 18, bring your parent or guardian with you.
- You should get a vaccination card as a record of your vaccination.
Vaccine Side Effects
Possible side effects of getting the vaccine include pain, redness, and swelling on the arm where you got the vaccine shot. Other potential side effects you may have are tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, fever, or nausea. They should only last for a few days. If you are getting a two-dose vaccine, you may experience more intense side effects after your second shot compared to your first shot. These should also go away within a few days.
When to call the doctor?
Redness or tenderness in the arm where you were vaccinated worsens after 24 hours or if you are getting worried about your side effects and they are not going away after a few days.
HAVE A QUESTION?
Reach out to us today.