Coronavirus
COVID-19 Vaccine

UPDATED November 23, 2021

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

Click here for vaccination appointments through the County's website 

To register for a BCHD COVID-19 vaccine clinic for 5-11 year olds, visit www.bchd.org/schoolvaccines.


Expanded Eligibility for Booster Shots

All adults 18 and over are now eligible for booster doses 6 months out from receiving their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or 2 months out from receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Getting boosted before the holidays is important, particularly if gathering with others or traveling. Read the FDA and CDC statement on expanding eligibility to all adults.

View the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health's COVID-19 Vaccines Eligibility Summary table here.


State Vaccine Mandate for Schools

Under a state order, K-12 school staff across the county are required to be vaccinated by October 15 or test weekly. Governor Newsom announced the state’s plan to require COVID-19 vaccination of all students and staff at private and public schools statewide as a condition of in-person attendance. The requirement will be effective for each student beginning the term following full FDA approval of the vaccine for their grade span, beginning with students in grades 7-12, followed by students in grades K- 6. Depending on the timing of approvals, this likely means the requirement will go into effect beginning either January 1 or July 1 of 2022.


BCHD COVID-19 Testing & Vaccination Site Successes


Frequently Asked Questions

DISTRIBUTION
When can I get vaccinated?

Everyone 5 and older can get vaccinated. Please note, children ages 5-17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine and need to sign up at a site that offers this vaccine. 

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

What COVID-19 vaccines are available?
  • Pfizer-BioNTech / Comirnaty: On August 23, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12-15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Read more here. Then, on October 29, the FDA authorized this vaccine for emergency use in children ages 5-11.
  • Moderna: The second COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine, received EUA by the FDA on December 18 for individuals 18 years of age and older. 
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): On February 27, 2021, the FDA issued an EUA for the third vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 allowing the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. for use in individuals 18 years of age and older. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine requires a single dose.
How many vaccine doses have been administered in Los Angeles County?

View the COVID-19 Vaccinations in LA County 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.

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.

What is the process of approval after emergency use authorization?

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.

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 5 years of age and older. The Moderna and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) 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 vaccinethe Moderna vaccine or the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) 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 one of the COVID-19 vaccines. 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
  • Janssen (Johnson & Johnson): The most commonly reported side effects were pain at the injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches and nausea. Most of these side effects occurred within 1-2 days following vaccination and were mild to moderate in severity and lasted 1-2 days. Source: FDA
  • Experiencing side effects is a normal sign that your body is building protection. Source: CDC
  • You may get side effects in the first 2 days after getting the vaccine. Side effects are more common in younger people. They usually do not last long, and you should feel better within a day or two. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
Can the vaccine give you COVID-19?

No. You cannot get COVID-19 from the vaccine. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, UCLA

Do messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines alter your DNA?

The vaccine will not alter your genetic information, or DNA. Just as its name says, mRNA works like a messenger; it tells your body to make a protein that kicks your immune system into action. mRNA never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. The cell breaks down and gets rid of the mRNA soon after it is finished using the instructions. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, CDC

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe for women who are pregnant?

Mounting data shows that COVID-19 infection increases the risk of severe illness and pregnancy complications. Studies have also affirmed the vaccines’ safety in all stages of pregnancy. In light of these findings and the increase in cases across the country, the CDC strengthened its recommendation for COVID-19 vaccination for all women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also encourages pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding to get vaccinated. Get the facts here.

Are there any adverse events after vaccination?

Serious adverse events after COVID-19 vaccination are rare but may occur. Reports of adverse events to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.

CDC is monitoring the following rare, serious adverse events of interest:

  • Anaphylaxis
  • Thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) 
  • Guillain-Barré Syndrome
  • Myocarditis and pericarditis: Both myocarditis and pericarditis have the following symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath and feelings of having a fast-beating, fluttering or pounding heart. 
  • Reports of death: More than 442 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in the United States from December 14, 2020, through November 15, 2021. During this time, VAERS received 9,810 reports of death (0.0022%) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. 

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%. Efficacy was high among people of diverse age, sex, race, and ethnicity categories and among persons with underlying medical conditions. Source: CDC
  • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine was 66.3% effective in clinical trials at preventing COVID-19 illness in people who had no evidence of prior infection 2 weeks after receiving the vaccine. People had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated. The vaccine also had high efficacy at preventing hospitalization and death in people who did get sick. No one who got COVID-19 at least 4 weeks after receiving the vaccine had to be hospitalized. Early evidence suggests that the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine might provide protection against asymptomatic infection, which is when a person is infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 but does not get sick. Source: CDC
  • According to the FDA, it is not possible to make comparisons about the effectiveness among the three COVID-19 vaccines. The only way to accurately compare the effectiveness of medical products, such as vaccines or drugs, is by direct comparison in head-to-head clinical trials, which did not occur for these vaccines. Furthermore, the clinical trials for these vaccines occurred in different geographic regions and at different points in time with varying incidence of COVID-19. All of the COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized for emergency use are at least 50% more effective than placebo in preventing COVID-19, consistent with FDA recommendations provided in the October 2020 guidance document, Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19. A vaccine with at least 50% efficacy would have a significant impact on disease, both at the individual and societal level.
  • mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing infections in real-world conditions: In a study of about 4,000 healthcare personnel, police, firefighters and other essential workers, the CDC found that the vaccines reduced the risk of infection, both asymptomatic and symptomatic infection by 80% after one dose, and that protection increased to 90% following the second dose. Different from the clinical trials, which are tightly controlled, and showed that the vaccines are highly effective preventing hospitalizations and deaths, this study shows just how effective the vaccines are in preventing infections in real-life conditions. The findings of this study are significant and provide evidence that the vaccines can both reduce transmission and save lives. Read the CDC’s report here.
Can I compare the effectiveness of the three vaccines?

According to the FDA, it is not possible to make comparisons about the effectiveness among the three COVID-19 vaccines. The only way to accurately compare the effectiveness of medical products, such as vaccines or drugs, is by direct comparison in head-to-head clinical trials, which did not occur for these vaccines. Furthermore, the clinical trials for these vaccines occurred in different geographic regions and at different points in time with varying incidence of COVID-19. All of the COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized for emergency use are at least 50% more effective than placebo in preventing COVID-19, consistent with FDA recommendations provided in the October 2020 guidance document, Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines to Prevent COVID-19. A vaccine with at least 50% efficacy would have a significant impact on disease, both at the individual and societal level.

What is herd immunity?
  • Herd immunity means that enough people in a community are protected from getting a disease because they’ve already had the disease or because they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person, and it even protects those who cannot be vaccinated, like newborns or people who are allergic to the vaccine. The percentage of people who need to have protection to achieve herd immunity varies by disease. Experts do not yet know what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. CDC and other experts are studying herd immunity and will provide more information as it is available. Source: CDC
  • Although the percentage of the population Los Angeles County needs to vaccinate to achieve community immunity (herd immunity) is unknown, the County Department of Public Health estimates it’s probably around 80%. As of May 10, 2021, 400,000 shots each week are getting into the arms of County residents, and there are over 2 million more first doses to go before 80% of all County residents 16 and older have received at least one shot. At this rate, the County Department of Public Health expects the County will reach this level of community immunity in mid- to late July and that assumes the County continues to at least have 400,000 people vaccinated each week. That would include both first doses that people need as well as their second doses. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health 
How does an mRNA vaccine work?

The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines. mRNA vaccines are a new type of vaccine to protect against infectious diseases, but they are not unknown. Researchers have been studying and working with mRNA vaccines for decades. Interest has grown in these vaccines because they can be developed in a laboratory using readily available materials. This means the process can be standardized and scaled up, making vaccine development faster than traditional methods of making vaccines. As soon as the necessary information about the virus that causes COVID-19 was available, scientists began designing the mRNA instructions for cells to build the unique spike protein into an mRNA vaccine. mRNA vaccines teach our cells how to make a protein—or even just a piece of a protein—that triggers an immune response inside our bodies. That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies. Source: CDC

Are the vaccines effective against variants?

​Yes, both the FDA and CDC confirm that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective against variants.

  • While the FDA continues to develop an understanding of and address any impact of variants on FDA-regulated products, at this time, available information suggests that the authorized vaccines remain effective in protecting the American public against currently circulating strains of COVID-19. Source: FDA
  • Studies suggest that antibodies generated through vaccination with currently authorized vaccines recognize these variants. This is being closely investigated and more studies are underway. Source: CDC
  • Recent research findings provide added evidence that the currently available vaccines appear to be highly effective against the variants of concern that are circulating now. A new study by the CDC showed that over the last few months, during a period when the current viral variants have been circulating widely, vaccines reduced the risk of getting sick with COVID-19 by 94% among fully vaccinated healthcare workers.
GETTING VACCINATED
Why should I get vaccinated?

COVID-19 vaccination will help keep you from getting COVID-19

  • All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the United States have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19. 
  • Based on what we know about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.
  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

COVID-19 vaccination is a safer way to help build protection

  • COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. And if you get sick, you could spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you.
  • Clinical trials of all vaccines must first show they are safe and effective before any vaccine can be authorized or approved for use, including COVID-19 vaccines. The known and potential benefits of a COVID-19 vaccine must outweigh the known and potential risks of the vaccine for use under what is known as an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Watch a video on what an EUA is.
  • Getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity. Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody (immune system) response without having to experience sickness.
  • Both natural immunity and immunity produced by a vaccine are important parts of COVID-19 disease that experts are trying to learn more about, and CDC will keep the public informed as new evidence becomes available.

COVID-19 vaccination will be an important tool to help stop the pandemic

  • Wearing masks and physical distancing help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others, but these measures are not enough. Vaccines will work with your immune system so it will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed.
  • The combination of getting vaccinated and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19.
  • Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools we have available. As experts learn more about how COVID-19 vaccination may help reduce spread of the disease in communities, CDC will continue to update the recommendations to protect communities using the latest science.

Source: CDC

How is the vaccine administered? When do I get my second dose?
  • Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines require two doses. The Pfizer-BioNTech doses are given three weeks (21 days) apart and the Moderna four weeks (28 days) apart. You must receive the same vaccine for both doses. Your second dose should be administered as close to the recommended 21 days or 28 days interval as possible. However, if it is not feasible to adhere to the recommended interval, the second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines may be scheduled for administration up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose. Second doses administered within a grace period of 4 days earlier than the recommended date for the second dose are also considered valid. Source: CDC
  • The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine requires a single dose.
Do I need to pay?

No. Your doctor or pharmacy may charge a fee for giving the vaccine, but it will be covered by public and private insurance companies. People without health insurance can get COVID-19 vaccines at no cost. There are no out-of-pocket payments. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Will I be asked about my immigration status when I get vaccinated?

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 vaccinated. Your medical information is private. Your doctor is not allowed to share it with immigration officials. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Where can I get vaccinated?

More than 700 sites in Los Angeles County are administering the vaccines, including federally qualified health clinics, pharmacies, hospitals, and large capacity vaccination sites. For the full list of available vaccination sites, visit the County’s website here.

South Bay Pharmacy (520 N. Prospect Ave, Suite 110, Redondo Beach)

  • Vaccines available: Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (subject to availability)
  • For minors age 12-17: The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are NOT authorized for this age group
  • When:
    • Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 – 5 p.m.
    • Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
  • Walk-ins only
I had COVID-19; do I still need to get vaccinated?

Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Learn more about why getting vaccinated is a safer way to build protection than getting infected. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Source: CDC

I currently have COVID-19; should I get vaccinated?

No. People with COVID-19 who have symptoms should wait to be vaccinated until they have recovered from their illness and have met the criteria for discontinuing isolation; those without symptoms should also wait until they meet the criteria before getting vaccinated. This guidance also applies to people who get COVID-19 before getting their second dose of vaccine.

Source: CDC

Is the COVID-19 vaccine required?

Getting the vaccine is voluntary. Vaccines are an important public health measure to protect the health of not only yourself, but of your community. Healthcare providers and public health officials are trying to provide people with good information on the safety and effectiveness of these vaccines so that they can make an informed decision when it is their turn to be offered the vaccine. The Beach Cities Health District Medical Advisory Committee strongly recommends residents to get a COVID-19 vaccine that has been authorized by the FDA when it becomes available to them.

Will I be required to get vaccinated for work?

An employer may require that their workers be vaccinated. Check with your employer to see if they have any rules that apply to you. Source: CDC

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

If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, aspirin, antihistamines, or acetaminophen, for any pain and discomfort you may experience after getting vaccinated. You can take these medications to relieve post-vaccination side effects if you have no other medical reasons that prevent you from taking these medications normally. It is not recommended you take these medicines before vaccination for the purpose of trying to prevent side effects, because it is not known how these medications may impact how well the vaccine works.

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

What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?

You are considered fully vaccinated when:

  • Two weeks or more have passed since you received your second dose in a 2-dose vaccine series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna); or 
  • Two weeks or more have passed since you received your dose of a single-dose vaccine (Johnson& Johnson/Janssen)
Has the public health guidance changed for those that are fully vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Participate in many of the activities that they did before the pandemic.
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel and from self-quarantine after travel.
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible.

For more information and recommendations for indoor settings, outdoor settings, travel, and isolation, quarantine and testing, visit the CDC here.

If I am vaccinated, do I still need to quarantine?

The California Department of Public Health and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health support the new CDC recommendation that fully vaccinated persons with an exposure to COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they meet the following criteria:

  1. it has been > 2 weeks since the final dose,
  2. they are within 3 months of having received the final vaccine dose, and
  3. they have remained asymptomatic since the exposure.

Fully vaccinated persons who do not quarantine should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience symptoms, they should be clinically evaluated for COVID-19, including testing, if indicated. All vaccinated persons must continue all precautions including masking, physical distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

Can I get COVID-19 after I am vaccinated?
  • It is possible to catch the disease in the first few days after your vaccination before the vaccine has a chance to work. For the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the vaccine needs 7 days before it starts to work for most people and the second dose is required before a person is fully protected from getting sick from the virus. For the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, which requires just one dose, people had the most protection 2 weeks after getting vaccinated in the clinical trials. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public HealthCDC
  • The CDC recently confirmed fewer than 0.007% of the nearly 90 million Americans with full protection against the virus have been infected with COVID-19; the vaccines are working as intended. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
What is the official vaccination record?

There are several types of vaccination record:

Learn more from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health here.

 

THIRD DOSES
Who is eligible for a third dose of the vaccine?

People who received organ transplant, people undergoing cancer treatment, people with advanced or untreated HIV and those on certain immunosuppressive medications can get a third dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

There is evidence that individuals who are severely immunocompromised are not fully protected after receiving two doses and this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose.

This includes people who have:

  • Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
  • Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress the immune response
Why is third dose needed?

Although the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work very well in the majority of individuals, there is evidence that individuals who are severely immunocompromised are not fully protected after receiving two doses and this small, vulnerable group may benefit from a third dose. Certain medical conditions or the treatments used for specific conditions may prevent the immune system from responding adequately to two doses of the vaccine and therefore require an additional dose to provide adequate protection from COVID-19.

When can I get the third dose?

At least 28 days after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Los Angeles County is administering third doses to those who qualify now.

How do I get my third dose?

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health encourages individuals who qualify for a third dose to speak to their healthcare provider to confirm their eligibility and get vaccinated. Third doses of the vaccines will be accessible through vaccination sites that currently offer Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Eligible individuals will be able to provide a self-attestation that they have a qualifying medical condition at these sites; there is no medical documentation needed to get the third dose.

What if I received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine?

A follow-up dose is not currently recommended for those who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The FDA is still evaluating data on the effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in immunocompromised individuals.

What is the difference between the third dose and the booster shot?

Additional doses are not boosters. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health notes the difference between third doses and booster shots is more than just language. Third doses are meant to elicit an antibody response where there was an inadequate antibody response before, while booster shots are meant to increase antibody levels that have waned after a robust increase in the months after vaccination.

TEENS AND VACCINES
Which COVID-19 vaccine can teens get?

Minors age 12-17 can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. They cannot receive the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine because these vaccines are only authorized by the FDA for individuals age 18 and over. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Is the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine safe and effective for teens?

Teens 16 to 17 years of age were included in the efficacy analysis and one confirmed COVID-19 case was reported in this age group. The FDA has determined that it is biologically reasonable to extrapolate that safety and effectiveness in teens 16-17 years old would be similar to safety and effectiveness in younger adults. Source: FDA

If teens are less likely to get sick from COVID-19, why do they need a vaccine?

Even though it is rare for children to get seriously ill from COVID-19, children who are 16 years and older have needed hospital care for COVID-19. This is especially true for teens with underlying health conditions such as weakened immune systems, obesity or chronic lung conditions. Having the vaccine may also give parents and teens alike peace of mind to return to more typical activities like in-person instruction and participating in sports, which is great for mental health. Source: Children’s Hospital Orange County

Do I need to accompany my teen to the vaccination?

The information below applies to minors being vaccinated at a site run by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health:

  • For all minors age 12-17: a consent form signed by a parent or legal guardian is required for both visits.
  • 16 and 17-year-olds should be accompanied by their parent or legal guardian if possible.
  • 12-15 year-olds must be accompanied by their parent, legal guardian or a responsible adult. If the child is accompanied by a responsible adult, the consent form must name the responsible person and be signed by the parent or legal guardian. The responsible person must bring their photo ID.
  • Note: If the minor is being vaccinated at school, consent is required; however, the school’s guidance should be followed on whether a parent/legal guardian or named adult needs to be present.
  • Public Health consent form: English | Español
    Consent forms are available at the vaccination site, or can be printed for free in LA County libraries.
Will students have to wear a face mask after getting vaccinated?

Yes, all students over age 2 are required to wear face masks at all times while on school property except while eating, drinking or carrying out other activities that preclude use of face masks. Alternative protective strategies may be adopted to accommodate students who are on Individualized Education or 504 Plans and who cannot use or tolerate a face mask. Students who cannot wear a mask should not be placed with a cohort or group of students in the classroom. They may be able to tolerate a face shield with drape at the bottom which does not provide the same extent of source control or personal protection as use of a properly fitted, multi-layered face mask, therefore a student who cannot wear a mask can receive necessary services in a one-to-one setting with staff wearing appropriate PPE. They may also need to be accommodated via distance learning. Source: Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Should my teen stay home from school after the COVID-19 vaccine?

If they have a fever, the teen should stay home. Beyond that, so long as they are feeling well, there is no need to limit activities. Source: Children’s Hospital Orange County

Will UCs and CSUs require a COVID-19 vaccine?

In the interest of maintaining the health and safety of students, employees, guests and all members of campus communities, the California State University (CSU) joined the University of California (UC) in announcing that the universities intend to require faculty, staff and students who are accessing campus facilities at any university location to be immunized against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This requirement will be conditioned upon full approval of one or more vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as adequate availability of the fully approved vaccines. This requirement will become effective at the beginning of the fall 2021 term, or upon full FDA approval of the vaccine, whichever occurs later. Source: CSU

Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine for 5-11 year olds
Will the Pfizer vaccine for children 5-11 years old differ from the current product for adolescents and adults?

The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for 5-11 year-olds will be a new product with new packaging, new product configuration (10-dose vial), different dosage and injection volume, and have a new National Drug Code (NDC). Current product for adults and adolescents cannot be used in children under 12 years of age.

Is the vaccine effective in this age group?

Immune responses of children 5-11 years old were comparable to those of individuals 16-25 years old. In addition, the vaccine was found to be 90.7% effective in preventing COVID-19 in children 5-11. Source: FDA

Is the vaccine safe for children?

The vaccine’s safety was studied in approximately 3,100 children 5-11 years old who received the vaccine and no serious side effects have been detected in the ongoing study. Source: FDA

How is the vaccine administered?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine for children 5-11 years old is administered as a two-dose primary series, 3 weeks apart, but is a lower dose (10 micrograms) than that used for individuals 12 years and older (30 micrograms). Source: FDA

What are the side effects?

Commonly reported side effects in the clinical trial included injection site pain (sore arm), redness and swelling, fatigue, headache, muscle and/or joint pain, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, nausea and decreased appetite. More children reported side effects after the second dose than after the first dose. Side effects were generally mild to moderate in severity and occurred within two days after vaccination, and most went away within one to two days. Source: FDA

Can my child take a pain reliever?

Ask your child’s healthcare provider for advice on using a non-aspirin pain reliever and other steps you can take at home after your child gets vaccinated. In general, aspirin is not recommended for use in children and adolescents less than 18 years of age. Placing a cool, damp cloth on the injection site can help with discomfort. Also, it is not recommended you give pain relievers before vaccination to try to prevent side effects. Source: CDC

Can my child get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same time?

Yes, your child may get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines, including flu vaccine, at the same time. Source: CDC