Covid Vaccine: Make A Plan

Get the Vaccine: Make a Plan

Overview

The day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. There are two effective, safe vaccines available and California is now receiving shipments for health providers to distribute.

The vaccines are now being distributed to front-line medical workers and older seniors. For those who want it, other Californians will have the opportunity to get a vaccine in later phases.

Now is the time to make a plan for how you will get vaccinated when one is available to you.

This will be the largest medical distribution in California’s history. It will proceed in an orderly fashion, based on need and vulnerability to the virus and you may need to be patient until it is your turn to receive the vaccine.

You do not need to be tested for COVID-19 before you receive the vaccine. If you’ve already had COVID-19, you are still eligible to be vaccinated.

All Californians will be able to get a no-cost vaccine. Even after you are vaccinated, remember, to wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance. These actions will continue to save lives until enough people have been vaccinated to create “community immunity” and the virus can no longer readily spread. 

Information is available at www.covid19.ca.gov/vaccines.

Making Your Plan

California is working with health providers and community partners to educate or administer the vaccine. The first step in making your plan to obtain the vaccine is to contact your doctor. Your doctor will be familiar with your medical provider’s system of vaccine distribution and when you and your family members will be eligible to receive a vaccine.

Ask your doctor how you will be notified that it is your turn to be vaccinated, or if you need to check back at a later date to obtain this information.

At this point, clinical trials are ongoing for children, so they are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine. When the vaccine is deemed safe for children, you can create a plan for them to receive the injections as well. If you have senior or other high risk family members, talk with them about how you can help them make their plans to get a vaccine.

What Californians Need to Know

Avoiding Scams

At this time there are currently scammers contacting people, especially seniors, about the COVID vaccine with the intent to obtain personal data. Reputable medical providers will not ask for personal information like credit cards or social security numbers. If you are contacted by someone purporting to be your doctor or medical provider and you are unsure if they can be trusted, call or email your medical provider directly.  

Safety

The Covid-19 vaccines are approved and rolling out statewide. They have gone through rigorous safety and efficacy trials and will be free for anyone who wants one.

There is misinformation from anti-vaccine groups as well as well-meaning but uninformed individuals on social media and elsewhere. In addition, given the medical discrimination and historical mistreatment of many ethnic groups by governments, it is not surprising that some communities are mistrustful of public health vaccination efforts.

As such, it is important that facts about vaccine safety are readily available.

The U.S. has a vaccine safety system that makes sure that all vaccines given in this country are safe. COVID-19 vaccines are no exception. 

California, along with several other Western States, has gone a step further and created the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup to verify the safety and efficacy findings of the US Food and Drug Administration. The scientists and analysists in this group have reported back that these vaccines are indeed safe and effective and the FDA’s process as thorough.

Both vaccines have been shown to be nearly 95% effective at preventing the symptoms of the disease. Some side effects have been reported, including muscle aches, headaches, nausea, and fever. These symptoms signal that your immune system is developing protection from the virus. 

You cannot get the virus from the vaccine and it does not change your DNA. The technology utilized to make these vaccines has been developed over the last 20 years. Messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines have been studied for over a decade in influenza, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) and new cancer treatments. 

mRNA vaccines carry genetic material that helps our cells make a harmless piece of “spike protein,” found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The spike protein triggers an immune response to protect us from getting infected if the SARS-CoV-2 virus enters our bodies. 

Trial groups included a diverse mix of participants across the U.S. from different race and ethnic groups and ages. This is important because minority groups have disproportionately borne the brunt of COVID-19 deaths, so a vaccine that works across all groups is critical to getting this pandemic under control.