Vaccine | Altamed
The Vaccine is Safe and Effective
In order to keep you and your family safe from getting COVID-19, AltaMed recommends taking the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to you. Getting vaccinated is one of many steps you can take to protect yourself and others. Protection from COVID-19 is critically important because for many people, it can cause severe illness or death.
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has worked closely with the pharmaceutical companies to ensure the vaccine is safe and effective for protecting adults.
Where You Can Get a Vaccine
Call the AltaMed Vaccine Hotline at (888) 909-5232 to make an appointment. AltaMed patients with a MyAltaMed account can schedule an appointment through MyAltaMed. If you do not have an account, sign up today.
Outside of AltaMed
You can enroll in MyTurn, a service with the California Department of Public Health that will keep you informed of when you may be able to get a vaccine. You may be able to schedule an appointment through the county when it’s your turn. Sign up online at MyTurn.ca.gov or call (833) 422-4255.
Los Angeles County
Additional vaccine appointments are available for eligible residents through Orange County agencies. Visit othena.com to check if you are eligible and book an appointment.
After the Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccination will help protect you from getting COVID-19. However, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection.
Sign up for V-Safe, the CDC after vaccination health checker. Use your smartphone to let the CDC know about any side effects you have after getting the COVID-19 vaccine. You’ll also get a reminder if you need a second vaccine dose.
Continue to practice physical distancing and frequent hand washing. Limit group gatherings, and restrict non-essential travel to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Stay home if you are sick or have been exposed to COVID-19. Learn more about best practices and how to stay safe even after you receive your vaccine.
Facts and Frequently Asked Questions
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not give you COVID-19
None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States uses the live virus that causes COVID-19. The goal for each of them is to teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building immunity and learning how to fight the vaccine. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it is possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
FACT: COVID-19 vaccines will not cause you to test positive on COVID-19 viral tests
Vaccines won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection. If your body develops an immune response, which is the goal of vaccination, there is a possibility you may test positive on some antibody tests. Antibody tests indicate you had a previous infection and that you may have some level of protection against the virus. Experts are currently looking at how COVID-19 vaccination may affect antibody-testing results.
FACT: People who have gotten sick with COVID-19 may still benefit from getting vaccinated
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they 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. We won’t know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have a vaccine and more data on how well it works.
FACT: Getting vaccinated can help prevent getting sick with COVID-19
While many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others get severely ill and many even die. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you are not at increased risk of severe complications. If you get sick, or are asymptomatic, meaning you have no symptoms, you can spread the disease to friends, family, and others around you. COVID-19 vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.
Is the J&J vaccine safe?
The CDC and FDA have recommended that use of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine resume in the United States, effective April 23, 2021. However, women younger than 50 years old should especially be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination, and that other COVID-19 vaccines are available where this risk has not been seen. If you received a J&J/Janssen vaccine, here is what you need to know. Read the CDC/FDA statement.
What are the symptoms to look for if you had the J&J vaccine?
Symptoms may include severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or shortness of breath within three weeks after vaccination.
What if I am having symptoms after the J&J vaccine?
Call the AltaMed Patient Service Center at (888) 499-9303 to make a telehealth appointment to speak to your provider. Or, if you have a MyAltaMed account, login and schedule your appointment.
What was the COVID-19 vaccine approval process?
Prior to FDA approval, the COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in many thousands of patients first by conducting clinical trials. Clinical trials are closely monitored research programs conducted with patients to see if a new drug or medical treatment is effective. The trails were conducted according to strict standards set forth by the FDA in June 2020. The Food and Drug Administration (or FDA) provided an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to use the vaccines because the research showed the vaccines are highly effective in preventing COVID-19 in adults. The research findings in the COVID-19 vaccine trials were proven to have minimal side effects and be highly effective in preventing COVID-19 in adults.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?
Vaccines have been tested in more than 40,000 volunteers, having only mild symptoms, very similar to our flu vaccine. The FDA will continue to monitor closely any change in side effects or recommendations. At this moment, with the information that we have, the vaccines have been evaluated and can start protecting us and our community against COVID-19. For the J&J vaccine, women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare risk of blood clots with low platelets after vaccination.
When will the COVID-19 vaccine become available?
Every Californian ages 16 and up is now eligible for vaccination. Vaccination of people younger than 16 will start as soon as the COVID-19 vaccines are approved for them. Pfizer will soon receive emergency use authorization for children ages 12 to 15. See CDPH’s Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Guidelines for details.
How many shots will I need for the COVID-19 vaccine?
The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines require two shots. The first shot starts building protection. A second shot a few weeks later (known as a booster) is needed to create the most protection the vaccine has to offer. Both shots are needed to be fully effective. The J&J vaccine only requires one shot.
If I had COVID, can I still get the vaccine?
Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that re-infection with COVID-19 is possible, people may be advised to get a COVID-19 vaccine even if they have been sick with COVID-19 before.
Can I get COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine?
It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it's possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
Can people still pass the virus to other people even if they get the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. Vaccinated people could still carry and spread the virus therefore should continue to wear masks, practice frequent hand washing, and socially distance until a majority of the population is vaccinated.
Why would a vaccine be needed if we can do other things, like social distancing and wearing masks, to prevent the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading?
Stopping a pandemic requires using all the tools available. Vaccines work with your immune system so your body will be ready to fight the virus if you are exposed. Other steps, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask and staying at least 6 feet away from others, help reduce your chance of being exposed to the virus or spreading it to others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following CDC’s recommendations to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from COVID-19. It is important to understand that even if we get the vaccine (COVID-19, influenza or others) we should still try to avoid exposure. This is key to diminishing the virus’ ability to live in us (and not getting us sick) and transfer it to someone else.
Do I need to wear a mask when getting the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash hands often, and stay at least six feet away from others.
Do I need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received two doses of the vaccine?
Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic: cover your mouth and nose with a mask, wash hands often, and stay at least six feet away from others. Visit the CDC website for the recent mask guidelines.
How do I report if I have a problem or bad reaction after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?
The CDC and FDA encourage the public to report possible side effects (called adverse events) to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). This national system collects these data to look for adverse events that are unexpected, appear to happen more often than expected, or have unusual patterns of occurrence.
Learn about the difference between a vaccine side effect and an adverse event. Reports to VAERS help CDC monitor the safety of vaccines. Safety is a top priority. Health care providers will be required to report certain adverse events following vaccination to VAERS. Health care providers also have to adhere to any revised safety reporting requirements according to FDA’s conditions of authorized use throughout the duration of any Emergency Use Authorization; these requirements would be posted on the FDA’s website.
CDC is also implementing a new smartphone-based tool called v-safe to check-in on people’s health after they receive a COVID-19 vaccine. When you receive your vaccine, you should also receive a v-safe information sheet telling you how to enroll in v-safe. If you enroll, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
What if I have an underlying health condition – should I get the vaccine?
At this moment, there is no specific contraindication against getting the vaccine. Please refer to the CDC website.
Will COVID-19 vaccines provide long-term protection?
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.
I have allergies. Can I get the vaccine?
If you suffer from allergies, the CDC advises that you consult your doctor before getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Visit the CDC website for more information.
Are there people with certain conditions or on certain medications who should NOT get the vaccine?
Per the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines may be administered to most people with underlying medical conditions. This information aims to help people in the following groups make an informed decision about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
Is there a risk of infertility with the COVID-19 vaccines?
There is no information at this moment that would correlate the risk of infertility and COVID-19. Please refer the CDC website for more information. While the vaccine trial enrollment excluded pregnant individuals, several people got pregnant during the trial. We do not have any other vaccines either that make you infertile.
Will there be enough COVID-19 vaccines for everyone?
Yes. Vaccines are available in California for anyone age 16 years or older who wants one. This will expand to younger children once the FDA/CDC approves them.
What is the new variant or strain of COVID-19?
Visit the CDC website to learn more about these new variants.
It is normal for a virus to mutate and change over time. Sometimes these new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and stay. New variants and strains of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States, United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. So far, studies suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine is effective in protecting you from these new variants. Scientists and doctors continue to study the effects. Continue physical distancing, wearing masks, practicing hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantining when exposed to COVID-19, is essential to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and protect public health.
Should I take pain relievers, like Ibuprofen, after receiving the vaccine?
Not everyone will experience side effects after the vaccine. If you have pain or discomfort, talk to your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medicine, such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or analgesics.
COVID-19 Testing at AltaMed
Patients can call the AltaMed Patient Service Center at (888) 499-9303 and one of our representatives will assist you in scheduling an appointment with a provider or obtaining a COVID-19 testing referral. Patients who have a MyAltaMed account will receive their results as soon as they are entered in our system.
We want to make sure all members of our community are taken care of and stay well. Whatever your situation is, we are here for you. If you would like to become an AltaMed patient or have questions about health insurance, call (877) 462-2582.
How to Care for COVID-19 Symptoms
The CDC currently associates the following symptoms with COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath
- Repeated shaking
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
Protecting Others If You Are Diagnosed
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, let anyone who has been around you within the 48 hours before your illness know that they too need to quarantine themselves for 14 days after their last contact with you. Los Angeles County residents may also call our Patient Service Center to schedule a COVID-19 test.
Follow these guidelines until your symptoms go away and you have not taken or needed any medication for 72 hours and it has been at least 10 days since the start of your symptoms.
- General information about Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
- Information for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Information for people using PrEP or living with HIV
- Information for sexually active people
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
- California Department of Public Health
Aside from your physical health, we understand that you may have other needs during this critical time. Check out the lists of resources available in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Categories include food, housing, unemployment and more.
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