Get-the-Facts-on-Vaccines Get the Facts on COVID-19 Vaccines

Get the Facts on COVID-19 Vaccines

​​Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself against severe COVID-19

Receiving COVID-19 vaccine is a safe and dependable way to build immunity to COVID-19. Studies have shown that the vaccine can reduce your risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 or developing long COVID​. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older stay up to date with the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Find a COVID-19 vaccine clinic near you at MyTurn.ca.gov, or call (833) 422-4255. You ​can also use the Vaccines.gov to book an appointment or find a walk-in site near you. 

Who should get vaccinated?

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older stay up to date​ with COVID-19 vaccine. Those who are at the highest risk of severe consequences of COVID-19 should prioritize getting vaccinated. Those who are high-risk include:

  • Older adults 
  • People who are pregnant or recently pregnant
  • People who are immunocompromised
  • People with certain medical conditions such as a chronic disease or cancer
  • People with disabilities

Everyone who has not already received the updated 2023-2024 vaccine should get it to protect themselves. (See information below for persons who have recently had a COVID-19 infection). The 2023-2024 vaccine has been available since September 2023.

Which COVID-​​19 vaccine should I get?

It's recommended that everyone 6 months and older receive at least 1 dose of the updated vaccine. Depending on your age and health conditions, you may be eligible for additional doses. Talk to your healthcare provider or your local pharmacist if you have questions.

  • The updated Pfizer and Mod​erna vaccines for 2023–2024 are recommended for everyone 6 months and older.
    • ​​Infants and toddlers 6 months to 4 years of age who are unvaccinated need 2–3 updated doses. Those who have received prior doses need 1–2 additional doses.
    • CDC recommends everyone 5 years of age and older get a single updated dose.
  • Alternatively, the updated Novavax vaccine for 2023–2024 may be given to persons 12 years of age and older.

People with weakened immune systems may receive additional updated doses. Talk to your healthcare provider to see if additional doses are recommended for you. ​

How do COVID-19 vaccines work? 

 COVID-19 vaccines teach our immune systems how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19. You can still get COVID-19 after vaccination, but your symptoms are likely to be much less severe.  We know that:  

  • Vaccinations can prevent most COVID-19-related hospitalizations and deaths. 
  • The updated COVID-19 vaccine provides protection against the latest variants of the virus. 
  • Those with weak immune systems are more likely to experience severe COVID-19 symptoms, even if previously vaccinated. 
  • The up-to-date vaccine can still help you even if you have had COVID-19 in the past. 

Will I be charged for COVID-19 vaccine? 

Most insurance plans cover COVID-19 vaccines (PDF). Individuals without health insurance coverage or who are underinsured may use the CDC Bridge Access program or the Vaccines for Children program. You can also check with your healthcare provider or local pharmacy. 

Can I get COVID-19 vaccine along with other vaccines? 

Yes. You can get COVID-19 vaccine and all other age-appropriate vaccines, including influenza vaccine, during the same visit. 

Should I get COVID-19 vaccine while I’m pregnant or breastfeeding? 

Yes. Growing  evidence confirms that COVID-19 vaccination before and during pregnancy is safe, effective, and beneficial to both mother and baby. COVID-19 vaccination is recommended for people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, trying to get pregnant now, or might become pregnant in the future. When you get vaccinated during pregnancy, the protection you receive from the vaccine is passed on to your baby. 

Many recent studies have found no difference in pregnancy rates among those who are vaccinated versus those who have not received the vaccine. ​

When should I get COVID-19 vaccine if I recently had a COVID-19 infection? 

It is unlikely that you will catch COVID again in the next weeks to months. However, you may consider some of these reasons for getting vaccinated sooner: 

Can I mix and match COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers? 

Yes, everyone who is 5 years and older may mix and match COVID-19 vaccines.  Please talk to your healthcare provider for more information on mixing vaccines.

What should I expect from my COVID-19 vaccine appointment?

The vaccine will be injected into the muscle of the upper arm or thigh. You may experience side effects like pain and swelling where the dose was given, headache, fatigue, and fever. These symptoms should go away in a few days. It is rare to experience severe health effects after COVID-19 vaccination.

What safety monitoring happens when COVID-19 vaccines are authorized?

COVID-19 vaccines have undergone and will continue to undergo the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history. Vaccine safety is monitored using several surveillance systems, including the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and the Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD). Thanks to these platforms, we know that the vaccine is an incredibly safe way to protect adults and children against COVID-19.

All COVID-19 vaccines were the result of decades of research and followed the same steps as other vaccines to ensure they were safe and effective before being made available to the public. No vaccine testing phases were skipped, and all phases were thoroughly evaluated to meet the high standards of safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality of the FDA.

Why should I vaccinate my child against COVID-19? 

Vaccination protects children from the most severe outcomes of COVID-19. These can include Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome-Children (MIS-C), hospitalization, and death. ​​

My child has had reactions to other vaccines. Should they still get the vaccine? 

Yes, unless they have had life-threatening allergic reactions to components of COVID-19 vaccines. Allergic reactions to these vaccines are rare. Before vaccination, talk to your child's healthcare provider about any allergies your child may have as you would do when your child receives other vaccines.

Can children who have pre-existing conditions like asthma get vaccinated? 

Yes. Children can still receive COVID-19 vaccine even if they have pre-existing health conditions. Talk to your healthcare provider about your child's specific conditions before scheduling their vaccines. 

Do providers need parental consent before administering a COVID-19 vaccine to a minor?     

Yes. Before vaccinating a minor, vaccine providers must get consent from a: 

  • Parent,  
  • Legal guardian, or  
  • Other adults having legal custody.  

There are so​​​​me exceptions: 

  • Emancipated minors do not need the consent of a parent/guardian to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Providers may accept written consent. It must be from the parent/guardian of an unaccompanied minor. This consent must verify the parent/guardian has received the fact sheet for the specific vaccine to be given. 
  • Phone or video consent is acceptable. The parent/guardian must confirm that they received the fact sheet for the vaccine to be given. Reading the fact sheet to the parent/guardian is an option. ​

Can my family get COVID-19 vaccines if we’re on Medi-Cal?

Yes. If your family has Medi-Cal Coverage, getting your family protected against COVID-19 just got easier. You have choices.  

You can go to your healthcare provider or go to a pharmacy that gives COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccines at pharmacies are free for the whole family – including your kids ages three years and up! Just show your Medi-Cal card. To find a pharmacy providng vaccinations near you go to MyTurn.ca.gov

How can I access my COVID-19 vaccination record?

Visit the Digital Vaccine Record (DVR) portal to get a digital copy of your COVID-19 vaccine record.

How is my privacy protected if I take the COVID-19 vaccine? 

California law strictly limits how personal information can be shared. The state prevents individuals being identified in shared data. 

Do I need to be a California resident to get COVID-19 vaccine? 

No. Vaccine eligibility is based on age. Residency or immigration status does not matter and will not be checked at your vaccine appointment. 

What if I received COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States? Can I get an additional dose here? 

Yes. Please talk to your healthcare provider for more information and review the CDC recommendations. Schedule your vaccination at My Turn. ​

Resources: