Covid-19 and Vaccines
Know all about Vaccines for Covid-19 in the LA County
Covid-19 has been spreading through the world since 2019. As we enter into 2021 amidst the pandemic, the Coronavirus spread is still on the rise. One of the important tools to control and eventually stop the pandemic is Mass Vaccination.
Vaccines are now available
The research for Covid-19 Vaccines started in several pharmaceutical companies in 2020 and clinical trials were also conducted. In December 2020, the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has issued a EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) for two vaccines. Other vaccines might soon be available, too. The currently available vaccines are:
- Pfizer/BioNTech Vaccine (Ages 16 and above)
- Moderna Vaccine (Ages 18 and above)
Please note that the vaccines are available at no cost. If you have insurance, you should give the details and your insurance will be billed. Even if you don’t have insurance, the vaccine is free.
How does the Covid-19 Vaccine work?
The main objective of the vaccine is to help our immune system to fight the Coronavirus infection. Whether the vaccine can also help us to spread the virus to others is not yet confirmed. However, it is being studied.
Certain vaccines inject a weakened or dead virus into the body to stimulate the immune system. The currently available Covid Vaccines mentioned above do not do that. Instead, they use the genetic information of the Coronavirus to evoke an immune response in the body without causing any harm to the body.
The currently available vaccines are administered in a series of two doses. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is administered in doses 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine is administered in doses 28 days apart. Typically, a few weeks after the final dose, the vaccine takes effect.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have an efficacy of 94% to 95%.
The one question that is on the mind of people is whether the Covid Vaccine is safe. The US Food and Drug Administration has issued Emergency Use Authorization for two Covid-19 vaccines. These vaccines have been tested and evaluated and the FDA has deemed them safe for use.
A group of experts and community representatives are entrusted with the responsibility to ensure a fair distribution of the vaccines. Phase 1A of the vaccines has already begun in the state of California. The vaccines are being allocated as they become available. To ensure a fair distribution, the vaccines are given in order of priority.
- Healthcare Workers
- Staff & Residents at Skilled Nursing Facilities
- Staff & Residents at Long-Term Care Facilities
- LA County Residents 65 and Older
- Education and Childcare
- Emergency Services
- Food and Agriculture
- People with Serious Health Conditions or Disabilities and their Caregivers.
- People Who Live or Work in Congregate Living Spaces.
- Janitorial, Custodial, and Maintenance Services
- Transportation and Logistics
ESTIMATED TIMELINE (February)
- Transportation and logistics
- Industrial, Commercial, Residential, and Sheltering Facilities and Services
- Critical Manufacturing
- Incarcerated Settings
- Homeless Settings
- Individuals aged 50-64 years of age
- Individuals aged 16-49 years of age with an underlying health condition or disability
- Individuals who are at a greater risk of exposure due to the nature of their work
Phase 2 (Proposed)
- Individuals aged 16-49 years of age without any underlying medical conditions
- An exception can be made to the above distribution if the vaccines are in surplus or are about to expire or are thawed and would go waste if not utilized immediately.
- Phase 1B is expected to start in February.
- Phase 1B has started for persons who are 65 years or older.
- For more details on the Phases and Tiers, Please Visit
What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 Click Here
When to get your second dose
You need 2 doses of vaccine to get the most protection:
- Pfizer-BioNTech doses should be given 3 weeks (21 days) apart
- Moderna doses should be given 4 weeks (28 days) apart
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.
What to bring to the appointment
Remember to bring your white vaccine record card or electronic vaccine record AND a photo ID. Long Term Care Facility Residents should bring their vaccine referral letter.
What to do if you qualify for the vaccine?
All vaccines are by appointment only. If you are eligible for a vaccine, you can schedule an appointment for the vaccine by visiting here.
Only those who are eligible to get a vaccine will be given appointments. Please do not schedule an appointment if you are not eligible. Persons who do not carry the right documents to prove their eligibility will be turned away from the vaccination center.
Persons who do not have access to the internet or are disabled can call 1-833-540-0473 between 8 AM to 8:30 PM to get help with an appointment.
Where are the vaccines administered?
Vaccines are administered at the below sites.
• PODS (Point of Dispensing Sites) – The Public Health Department and the LA City Fire Departments have set up PODS across the county.
• Community Clinics and Hospitals – Several community clinics and hospitals are offering vaccines, too.
• Pharmacies – Pharmacies such as Costco and Albertsons are also administering the vaccines.
You can locate a site near you on the map by visiting here.
For more details, visit the LA County Public Health website Click Here
What to do if you have received your first dose of vaccine?
The second dose of vaccine needs to be administered 21 or 28 days after the first dose (depending on which vaccine was administered). You will be notified by email or text to fix the appointment for the second dose.
If you have received the Pfizer Vaccine, your appointment for the second dose would be 21 days after the first dose. If you have received your first dose at any of the below locations, you will receive the second dose at the same location.
- Cal State University Northridge
- Magic Mountain
- The Forum
- County Office of Education
- Pomona Fairplex
If you have received the Moderna Vaccine, your appointment for the second dose would be 28 days after the first dose. The second dose would be administered at the same location or at a closer location. Below are the changed locations for the second dose for some of the sites.
Balboa Sports Complex
Balboa Sports Complex
Hazard & Belvedere
Balboa Sports Complex
For more information on the second dose of the vaccines, please visit here
Who should get the vaccine?
Typically, everyone needs to get the Covid vaccine in order to protect themselves from infection. Even if you have been infected by the virus before, you still need to get the vaccine. However, since the vaccines are still in limited supply, the state of California has provided guidelines to ensure a fair distribution of the vaccine in a phased manner.
While the Covid vaccine is not mandatory, it is recommended that everybody take the vaccine for their own protection as well as for the protection of those around them. The vaccine is safe even for pregnant women and lactating mothers.
Who should NOT take the Covid Vaccine?
Currently, due to the lack of adequate studies, the children and infants are not recommended the Covid Vaccine. Clinical trials are in progress to test the safety of the vaccines for children.
Please Note: People who have known allergies to vaccines or injections, should check with their doctor before taking the vaccine. If you are allergic to any of the ingredients of the Covid vaccine, you should check with a doctor. Also, if you develop any allergies after the first dose, medical advice should be taken before the second dose.
Side-effects of the Vaccine
The vaccines have been approved by the FDA and are as safe as possible. However, there could be side-effects that are similar to flu symptoms. Side-effects include soreness in the arms, fatigue, body ache, mild fever, etc. These symptoms are not harmful and are an indication that the immune system is gearing up to provide protection from Covid-19. The symptoms usually go away on their own.
Care to be taken after taking the Vaccine
To reduce discomfort in the area where you get the shot, apply a wet washcloth. Maintain regular arm movement. In case you have a fever after the dose, drink plenty of fluids.
Please Note: Getting vaccinated will provide you immunity from the Coronavirus infection. However, you can still spread the virus to others. Hence, you will need to adhere to all the guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes wearing a mask in public, washing hands, and maintaining social distancing.
When do you need medical intervention?
You need medical intervention in the below cases:
- If the area where you get the shot becomes increases in redness or tenderness after 24 hours.
- If the side-effects are severe and do not go away in a few days on their own.
Getting the Vaccine in the LA County
The distribution of vaccine started for Phase 1A started in mid-December 2020. The supply for the vaccines is expected to be low initially.
The LA County will begin vaccinations for Phase 1B only after vaccinating all individuals in Phase 1A category as more vaccines are made available by the California State.
To stay informed and get updates on the Vaccination for Covid-19 in LA County, visit this page and subscribe to the newsletter.
Stay Away from Misinformation!
Seek information only from trusted sources such as the LA County Public Health Website Some miscreants had spread the rumor that the vaccine contains traces of cow or pork meat. This is NOT true and both Pfizer and Moderna have confirmed that their vaccine does NOT contain any traces of components of animal origin.
Let us all come together to protect our community by staying away from misinformation and stopping its spread!