Coronavirus
COVID-19 Vaccine

UPDATED January 14, 2021

The COVID-19 vaccine development is continually evolving. Information is changing daily, if not hourly. Please note that the situation may have changed since the last webpage update.

Safe in the South Bay Series: LiveWell During COVID-19: Beach Cities Health District’s Safe in the South Bay Series is bringing health experts, cities, chambers, schools and community members together around this fast-moving pandemic. The live-streamed series #4 will focus on COVID-19 vaccinations and the psychology and resilience of living during a pandemic. Join an esteemed panel of experts who will provide the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccines and the ways residents, organizations, businesses, schools and the Beach Cities community can support COVID-19 recovery. 

State of COVID-19 Vaccine
Thursday, February 4, 5 - 6:30 p.m.
Link provided when you REGISTER

Panelists:

  • William Kim, MD
    Chief Medical Advisor
    Beach Cities Health District
  • Mona Ameet Shah, MD
    Physician Lead for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center COVID-19 Vaccine Strategy Team 
    Physician Director of Kaiser Permanente’s Regional COVID-19 Testing Site
  • Nava Yeganeh, MD, MPH 
    Infectious Diseases, Medical Epidemiologist, Acute Communicable Disease Control Program 
    Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • Brittany Dafesh, Psy.D. 
    Clinical Psychologist  
    Clinical Psychologist Inc.

Authorized COVID-19 Vaccines
On December 11, 2020, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued the first emergency use authorization (EUA) for a vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older. The emergency use authorization allows the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. 

The second COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, received EUA by the FDA on December 18 for individuals 18 years of age and older.

Process of Approval: Following each FDA hearing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meet to vote on whether to recommend the vaccines and develop guidelines for prioritization. California has also launched an independent Safety Review Work Group with the states of Washington, Oregon and Nevada that also review and approve the safety and efficacy data before the vaccine can be distributed.


Los Angeles County Vaccine Distribution Prioritization
Due to the limited supply, vaccine distribution will be phased across populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance for the allocation of vaccines and the State health department reviews and finalizes these recommendations for the county to follow. View the county's guidance on vaccine distribution prioritization.


Click on image to view larger.

For more details on the distribution phases, click here


Los Angeles County is currently in Phase 1A
The first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Los Angeles County on December 14. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health created a COVID-19 vaccine management dashboard that will be updated weekly to list how many vaccine allocations have been received and where they have been distributed. This dashboard will also provide a running tally of how many doses have been administered. View the dashboard here. This does not include allocations for the Cities of Long Beach and Pasadena, which have their own independent health departments and are receiving their own allocations.

Currently, this dashboard shows the vaccines being administered within Phase 1A where frontline healthcare and public health workers in hospitals, healthcare facilities, clinics, labs, and field settings are vaccinated along with staff and residents at long term care facilities and frontline EMTs and paramedics. The county is ramping up capacity to complete vaccinations for the approximately 500,000 frontline healthcare workers.  

Healthcare workers can go to the county’s COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Information Hub to register for an appointment and for additional information. All healthcare workers will need to show verification prior to vaccination. 

The current goal is to complete vaccinations of frontline healthcare workers and staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities by the end of January. As the county completes Phase 1A, they can look to starting vaccinations for groups within the next phase – 1B, starting with those who are 65 and older as noted by the Governor on January 13. The county is working with the State to identify additional vaccine doses so that they can start to schedule appointments once the doses arrive. Los Angeles County will not begin vaccinating people age 65 and older until they complete vaccinations for healthcare workers and receive more vaccine from the state for this new priority group. 


The COVID-19 vaccine development is continually evolving. 
Even with vaccines on the horizon, it remains essential that we continue to follow the health guidance and take steps to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 or giving it to others. It truly is safest at home. If you leave your home to deliver or receive essential services, you must wear your face covering correctly and physically distance yourself from others. Individuals with underlying health conditions and those that are older should remain in their home and not be around others unless seeking routine or essential health and dental care.  If you are having difficulty breathing, go to an emergency room or call 911.


Frequently Asked Questions

DISTRIBUTION
When can I get vaccinated?
  • Due to limited supply, distribution of COVID-19 vaccine will be phased across populations.
  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health distribution prioritizations are aligned with the recommendations of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Vaccines are currently being distributed to individuals in Phase 1A.
  • For more details on the distribution phases, click here.
  • Over time, when more vaccine is available, it will be offered to everyone. This will likely take months and not be widely available to the general public until Spring/Summer 2021.
What can I do now to help protect myself from getting COVID-19 since I am not in one of the current prioritization groups?

Even with vaccines on the horizon, it remains essential that we continue to follow the health guidance and take steps to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19 or giving it to others. It truly is safest at home. If you leave your home to deliver or receive essential services, you must wear your face covering correctly and physically distance yourself from others. Wash your hands often. Individuals with underlying health conditions and those that are older should remain in their home and not be around others unless seeking routine or essential health and dental care. If you are having difficulty breathing, go to an emergency room or call 911.

Who makes the decisions about how vaccines are distributed?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is an independent panel of medical and public health experts brought together by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make recommendations about vaccine policies. The ACIP recommends to the CDC which people should be in each phase. While states often follow the ACIP recommendations, final decisions about when different groups will get the vaccine are made by each state. In California, those decisions are being made by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health refines the state’s plan and decides exactly how each phase of vaccine distribution will be carried out: where vaccines will be given, who will be giving the vaccines, and how the county will make sure everyone has a chance to get a vaccine when it is offered to people in their phase.

Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

How is it decided who gets vaccine and when?

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has the following goals and principles to guide decisions about the order in which people are vaccinated.

Goals:

  • Reduce deaths and cases of serious disease
  • Keep key healthcare services and the larger community operating
  • Limit the extra strain that COVID-19 is having on people with chronic health conditions and people experiencing extreme hardship

Principles:

  • Do as much good and as little harm as possible. For example, make sure we use the vaccine that comes to Los Angeles County as efficiently as possible AND make sure people don’t have to go to crowded places where they could catch COVID-19 to get the vaccine.
  • Reduce health inequities. This means that the needs of people who experience worse health due to poor living or working conditions are recognized in planning the phases for distribution.
  • Promote justice. This means, for example, making sure richer people can’t buy their way to a place at the head of the line.
  • Promote transparency. In other words, make sure the public has information on every step in the process and knows where they can get more information if they need it.

In addition, there are other things to consider, like how to offer the vaccine in a way that reaches as many of the people in each phase as possible. This is complicated, especially since we don’t want people to gather in big crowds where they can’t be six feet apart when they get vaccinated.

Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

SAFETY
What’s the process for emergency use authorization (EUA)?

The FDA is globally respected for its scientific standards of vaccine safety, effectiveness and quality. The agency provides scientific and regulatory advice to vaccine developers and undertakes a rigorous evaluation of the scientific information through all phases of clinical trials, which continues after a vaccine has been approved or authorized for emergency use. Efforts to speed vaccine development have not sacrificed scientific standards, integrity of the vaccine review process or safety. Here is the path a COVID-19 vaccine must take to receive EUA.

Is there an age requirement?

The FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine under an EUA for the prevention of COVID-19 for individuals 16 years of age and older. The Moderna COVID 19 Vaccine has been authorized for emergency use for individuals 18 years of age and older.

Who should not get vaccinated?

If you have had a severe allergic reaction—also known as anaphylaxis—to any ingredient in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, you should not get vaccinated. If you have had a severe allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable therapies, ask your doctor if you should get one of the vaccines. Your doctor will help you decide if it is safe for you to get the Pfizer-BioNTech or the Moderna vaccine. Source: CDC

What are the side effects?
  • Pfizer-BioNTech: The most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain and fever. More people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose; you can expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose. Source: FDA
  • Moderna: The most commonly reported side effects, which typically lasted several days, were pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills, joint pain, swollen lymph nodes in the same arm as the injection, nausea and vomiting, and fever. More people experienced these side effects after the second dose than after the first dose; you can expect that there may be some side effects after either dose, but even more so after the second dose. Source: FDA
  • Experiencing side effects is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Source: CDC
EFFECTIVENESS
Is it effective?
  • The clinical trial for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine demonstrated a very high efficacy of 95%. Efficacy was similar across age, sex, racial and ethnic groups, including those with one or more of the following underlying health conditions: obesity, diabetes, hypertension and chronic cardiopulmonary disease. Source: CDC
  • The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine also has a very high efficacy of 94.1%. Source: FDA.
What is herd immunity?

Herd immunity is when enough of a population has built up immunity – from either previous infection or vaccination – to a virus that it can no longer easily spread. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Experts do not know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. Source: CDC

GETTING VACCINATED
Why should I get vaccinated?
  • Protect yourself, your family and our community
    • When you get vaccinated, your risk of infection is reduced, and it will help keep you from getting COVID-19. This means you are less likely to spread COVID-19 to others.
  • It is an additional tool to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system
    • With cases surging, hospitals are nearing capacity and our healthcare workers are overwhelmed.
    • As of December 20, the state reports 0% ICU availability in the Southern California region.
  • If you have questions or concerns about the COVID-19 vaccine, talk to your healthcare provider.
How is the vaccine administered?

Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer-BioNTech doses are given three weeks apart and the Moderna four weeks apart. You must receive the same vaccine for both doses.

Do I need to pay?

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost. However, vaccination providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Vaccine providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund. Source: CDC

Where can I get vaccinated?

As the COVID-19 becomes widely available to the general public, information about specific vaccine providers (hospitals, clinics, healthcare providers, pharmacies, etc.) will be made available. We will update this page regularly with information on vaccine locations in the Beach Cities.

What should I do if I experience pain or discomfort after getting vaccinated?

Talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot:

  • Apply a clean, cool, wet washcloth over the area
  • Use or exercise your arm

To reduce discomfort from fever:

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Dress lightly

In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to be going away after a few days

If you get a COVID-19 vaccine and you think you might be having a severe allergic reaction after leaving the vaccination site, seek immediate medical care by calling 911.

Source: CDC

I had COVID-19; do I still need to get vaccinated?

Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, you may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if you have been sick with COVID-19 before. At this time, experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long. Source: CDC

Will I still need to wear a face covering after I get vaccinated?

Yes. Although the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are very effective, no vaccine is 100% effective. Therefore, you must continue to follow the health guidance such as wearing a face covering, practicing physical distancing, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowds.


COVID-19 Vaccine Virtual Town Hall - 12/17/2020 Recording


Resources:
Vaccinations
Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
California COVID-19 Response - covid19.ca.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Food and Drug Administration