Vaccine Safety and Distribution Information

COVID-19 Vaccines

Following months of intense research, vaccines are being authorized by countries around the world to combat the pandemic.

Vaccinations are available through the county in which you live or work:

As PIH Health Physicians receives vaccine supply, patients identified in specific tiers according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will be notified to schedule an appointment at a vaccination clinic. There is no wait list or pre-registration process. You must register at one of the county websites above or wait to be contacted by PIH Health.

Below are some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Who Should Receive the Vaccine

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine right now?
Each county identifies individuals who qualify for vaccination by tiers. Visit the links above for current status in your county.

Can I make an appointment to get my COVID-19 vaccine now?
As vaccine supplies become sufficient to allow for the vaccination of patients and other community members, PIH Health will communicate with eligible patients or community members.

I have recovered from COVID-19. Should I still get the vaccine once it’s available?
Yes, the vaccine is both safe and recommended for anyone who has recovered from COVID-19. It is still not clear how, or how many, protective antibodies develop in those who had a previous COVID-19 infection, so you can and should still get the vaccine.

What if I’m sick with COVID-19 or another illness that involves a cough or fever?
In order to protect others from getting sick, you should wait until you are beyond the quarantine period before leaving your home to receive a vaccine.

Can I get the COVID-19 vaccine while in quarantine?
No, you must wait until your quarantine period ends in order to enter a facility to get vaccinated. For more specifics on when to start and end quarantine, visit the CDC website. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

What if I’m pregnant, planning to become pregnant within the next 6 months, or breastfeeding?
Yes, you may be vaccinated. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that COVID-19 vaccines should not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet criteria for vaccination. COVID-19 vaccine should be offered to lactating individuals when they meet criteria for vaccination. For additional information, visit: https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-advisory/articles/2020/12/vaccinating-pregnant-and-lactating-patients-against-covid-19. Please consult with your provider if you have further concerns or questions.

Vaccine Effectiveness and Safety

How long does it take for the vaccine to take effect?
Preliminary data in the U.S. suggest high vaccine efficacy in preventing COVID-19 following receipt of appropriate doses of COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Pfizer-BioNTech is 95% effective
  • Moderna is 94% effective
  • Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is 72% effective

It takes 1 to 2 weeks following completion of the Pfizer or Moderna regimen before a person is considered fully vaccinated. According to New England Journal of Medicine, the peer- reviewed results of a phase III clinical trial have found that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine may provide some early protection, starting 12 days after the first dose. Data from Johnson & Johnson show that most vaccinated trial participants had a robust immune response 15 days after getting the shot, with significant protection reached by day 29.

Will the vaccine give me COVID-19?
No, the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines do not contain SARS-CoV-2 and cannot give you COVID-19. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a traditional virus-based technology which is the viral vector vaccine. This will not cause COVID-19.

Are any of the COVID-19 vaccines interchangeable?
No. COVID-19 vaccines are not interchangeable. The safety and efficacy of a mixed-product series have not been evaluated. Each vaccine series should be completed with the same product.

Where can I find the Vaccine Information Statement (VIS) for COVID-19 vaccine?
VIS are only available for certain licensed vaccines. Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Fact Sheets for each type of COVID-19 vaccine are available in place of the VIS. For the Pfizer-BioNTech fact sheet, visit: http://labeling.pfizer.com/ShowLabeling.aspx?id=14472

For the Moderna Fact Sheet, visit: https://www.fda.gov/media/144638/download

For the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Fact Sheet, visit: https://www.fda.gov/media/146305/download

I received another vaccine recently. Can I still get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Given the lack of data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine.

What are the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine?
Side effect that have been reported include:

  • Injection site pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Injection site swelling
  • Injection site redness
  • Nausea
  • Feeling unwell
  • Swollen lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy)

I have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Do I need still need the vaccine?
Data from clinical trials indicate that COVID-19 vaccines are safe in persons with evidence of a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Scientists are still learning more about the virus that causes COVID-19. And it is not known whether getting COVID-19 disease will protect everyone against getting it again, or, if it does, how long that protection might last.

I have been diagnosed with COVID-19. When can I get the shot?
Vaccination of persons with known SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until you have met criteria to discontinue isolation and have completely recovered from the illness. This recommendation applies to persons who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection before receipt of the first dose as well as those who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose.

I received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. When can I get the shot?
Currently, there are no data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines in persons who received monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma as part of COVID-19 treatment. Based on the estimated half-life of such therapies as well as evidence suggesting that reinfection is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection, vaccination should be deferred for at least 90 days, as a precautionary measure until additional information becomes available, to avoid interference of the antibody treatment with vaccine-induced immune responses.

Contraindications

Who should NOT get the COVID-19 vaccine?
You should not get the COVID-19 vaccine if you have had a:

  • Severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Severe allergic reaction to any ingredients of the vaccine.

For a list of ingredients, refer to the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) Fact Sheet.

I have certain allergies and am unsure if it is a contraindication to the vaccine. Which type of allergies should I not be concerned with?
You may proceed with vaccination with history of allergies that are unrelated to the components of an mRNA COVID-19 which includes:

  • Allergy to oral medications (including the oral equivalent of an injectable medication).
  • History of food, pet, insect, venom, environmental, latex, etc., allergies
  • Family history of allergies

If you have a history of anaphylaxis due to these allergies, you will be asked to wait in the lobby for 30 minutes after vaccination.

I had an Influenza Vaccine recently, can I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Given the lack of data on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should routinely be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine.

Vaccine Availability/Priority

Which vaccines are currently available?
Currently, three vaccines are authorized in the U.S. to prevent COVID-19.

1) Pfizer-BioNTech: approved for those 16 years and older, consists of two doses given 21 days apart.

2) Moderna: approved for those 18 years and older, consists of two doses given 28 days apart.

3) Johnson & Johnson/Janssen: approved for those 18 years and older, consists of one dose.

Getting Vaccinated

How will the vaccine be administered to me?
The vaccine will be given as an injection into the muscle in the upper arm.

How many shots of COVID-19 vaccine do I need?
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines need two shots to be effective. Johnson & Johnson/Jannsen requires one vaccination.

  • Pfizer-BioNTech: given 21 days apart
  • Moderna: given 28 days apart
  • Johnson & Johnson: one shot

Post-vaccination

I’m experiencing symptoms after receiving the vaccine. What should I do?
Those who receive the COVID-19 vaccine may experience mild to moderate fever, fatigue, headache, chills, and body aches. These symptoms typically occur within the first three days following vaccination and resolve in a day or two. To help control some of the symptoms, you may consider taking a fever or pain reducing medication before and after your vaccine. Please consult your provider and visit CDC’s link to What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine.

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/expect/after.html

Do I need to wear a mask and practice social distancing after I receive the vaccine?
The CDC guidelines continue to recommend fully vaccinated people to still wear masks and distance in public. CDC recently stated that fully vaccinated people may gather among themselves without masks indoors in non-healthcare settings, therefore, this does not apply to any PIH Health buildings. Stopping a pandemic requires using all tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like masking and social distancing, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others.

Post-vaccination: Second Dose

I had a severe allergic reaction after my first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Should I receive the second dose?
You should NOT get the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction after receiving the first dose.

I was diagnosed with COVID-19 after my first Pfizer or Moderna vaccine dose. When I can I take my second dose?
Vaccination of persons with known SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until you have met criteria to discontinue isolation and have completely recovered from the illness. This recommendation applies to persons who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection before receipt of the first dose as well as those who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose.

Will I need to a booster vaccine in the future?
The need for and timing of booster doses for the COVID-19 vaccines has not been established. No additional doses beyond the two-dose primary series for Pfizer and Moderna vaccines or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are recommended at this time.

Variant Strains

What are they?
Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a type of coronavirus, a large family of viruses. Scientists monitor changes in the virus, including changes to the spikes on the surface of the virus. These studies, including genetic analyses of the virus, are helping us understand how changes to the virus might affect how it spreads and what happens to people who are infected with it. Multiple COVID-19 variants are circulating globally.

Will the vaccines cover variant strains?
There is no evidence that variant strains will change the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines and most experts believe this is unlikely to occur because of the nature of the immune response to the virus.

Visit the CDC, or the County of Los Angeles Public Health for more COVID-19 Vaccine information.