Tree Holiday

Stop the Spread of COVID-19 During the Holidays

Despite our progress, COVID-19 variants, and other infectious diseases like influenza, continue to emerge. That’s why it’s important to stay cautious during the holidays to keep from spreading COVID-19 and the flu to vulnerable family and community members.

It should be safer to spend time with loved ones this holiday season, especially if everyone is fully up-to-date with their vaccines. This means completing a primary COVID-19 vaccine series, getting eligible boosters, and the flu shot this fall. If you are current with your vaccines, you can resume normal activities more safely.

Senior Woman Hugging Each Other at Christmas

Taking Precautions for Each Other

To provide additional protection against COVID-19, booster shots are now approved for fully-vaccinated individuals age five and older. It is still important to continue to follow the basic precautions of properly wearing a mask, washing your hands, and maintaining physical distance. The best precaution for holiday gatherings is to limit them to only those who have been vaccinated.

This holiday season you can get everyone around the dinner table to celebrate a holiday meal more safely if they have been vaccinated. Eating outside and maintaining distance between guests is an added precaution to protect any guests who are not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and are not up-to-date on their boosters and flu shots. If you can’t gather outdoors, try to create space between people while they are eating.

Also, ask family members to get the flu vaccine. The flu can be dangerous and can weaken the immune system and make people more susceptible to COVID-19. Keep in mind that young children are more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses this year, so it’s really important for everyone to be vaccinated. Remind guests that it is okay to skip out on a holiday meal if they are not feeling well, and consider delivering their meal to them instead.

Festive Family Dinner

Easy Ways to Make Gathering Safer

No matter how big or small your celebration is, here are some tips for protecting everyone's well-being:

  • Try to limit attendance to those who have been vaccinated.
  • Gather outside to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Don’t spend too much time in a confined space.
  • Wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
  • Try to maintain some distance or stay masked if not fully vaccinated.
  • Avoid setting up a buffet unless you know everyone is up-to-date with their vaccines and boosters.
  • Ask guests to self-test for COVID-19 prior to gathering in large groups.
  • Place hand sanitizing stations across your home to encourage good hand hygiene.
  • Improve air flow inside your home if you can’t gather outside. Point fans toward intake vents and open screened windows or doors to improve air flow.
Woman Takes a Selfie With Doctor

If You’re Traveling

Get vaccinated against COVID-19 and influenza, and carry face masks and hand sanitizer with you. If you travel by plane or bus, make sure to wear a well-fitting mask. Continue to wear a well-fitting mask when you are in crowded areas. If you book a hotel or Airbnb, make sure you trust the sanitizing procedures. Don’t feel awkward calling to ask about their cleaning policies or to find out the last time someone occupied the space you reserved and how that space was cleaned.

COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, and the flu shot are available at AltaMed. Call us at (888) 499-9303 to schedule an appointment. For more information, click here

Get Started with AltaMed

AltaMed can provide information to you about the best way to protect yourself and your family during the holidays from COVID-19. We have several resources that you can share with those you plan to gather with. Learn more by calling (888) 499-9303.

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Elbow Delta

Stay on Guard as Deadly Delta Variant Cases Rise

Millions of residents in Los Angeles and Orange County have gotten at least one dose of a vaccine against COVID-19. Now a more contagious, deadlier strain of the virus —Delta — is spreading across the country and affecting those who have not been fully vaccinated.

Having at least one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines provides limited protection, but only fully vaccinated individuals are well protected from the Delta variant. The alarming number of new infections from this highly contagious version of the coronavirus has prompted the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health to strongly recommend wearing a mask indoors to stay protected. Now is not the time for communities to lower their guard as the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 continues.

Doctor Using a Microscope

What is a variant?

Viruses are always mutating. Think about the flu virus. There is a different strain to fight each year because it is constantly changing.

The same is happening with the virus that causes COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently tracking four variants in the United States:

  • Alpha — This was first discovered in the United Kingdom. It was detected in the U.S. in December 2020.
  • Beta — This first appeared in South Africa in December. It appeared in the U.S. in January 2021.
  • Gamma — This was discovered in Japan in early January, carried by travelers from Brazil. It showed up in the U.S. later that month.
  • Delta — This was identified in India in December of last year. The first U.S. case appeared in March 2021.

These variants are the most contagious and, left unchecked, can put a remarkable strain on the health care system which may ultimately lead to more deaths.

Woman with Band Aid on Arm

Stopping the spread

No matter how much we would like to, we can’t go back to how our lives were before the pandemic yet. The Delta variant has the potential to spark new outbreaks across the United States and around the world.

  • Get vaccinated — Vaccines are the fastest and most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Give vaccines time to work — It takes about two weeks for your immune system to be protected.
  • Use caution in group gatherings — The safest social gatherings are those where all participants have been fully vaccinated.
  • Masks protect against new strains — The coronavirus needs new hosts in order to mutate. Masks help prevent infections and therefore lower the risk of new variants developing.
Group of People Having a Conversation

Don’t ease up

For now, if you have been fully vaccinated:

  • You still need to follow local and state safety guidelines.
  • Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Practice physical distancing — stay six feet apart from others whether inside or outside.
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

For more information about the vaccine or testing, please visit or call our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232. Find a vaccine event happening in your community here.

Woman getting vaccinated

Here’s the Latest Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters

The FDA has authorized third doses, booster shots, and second booster shots to help you and your family stay protected against the coronavirus. These shots are recommended to maximize protection against the virus and its variants. Now, you may be wondering what is the difference between a third dose, a booster shot, and a second booster shot?

What is a booster shot and who can get it?

If you are fully vaccinated and not immunocompromised, you may eligible for a booster shot. Fully vaccinated is defined as someone who has already received two doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, a booster shot is different dosage than a third dose.

For those who received the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or the Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at five months or more after completing their initial series:

  • 12 years and over for Pfizer (Comirnaty) and 18 and over for Moderna (Spikevax)

For those who got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, anyone who is 18 and older and who was vaccinated two or more months ago, can receive a booster shot.

Booster shots are most important for people that are 65 and over, those with immune compromising conditions and those that are overweight or have chronic health conditions as these people can suffer more serious COVID-19 disease if they have not gotten all their recommended vaccines including their booster shots.

What is a second booster shot and who can get it?

The CDC now recommends a second booster shot of either the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) COVID-19 vaccines for the following groups:

  • Individuals aged 50 or older
  • Individuals aged 12 and over with moderate to severe immune comprise

The second booster will be available to eligible individuals beginning four months after their first booster. Public Health sites will administer second booster shots to those eligible starting Wednesday, March 30. More information is available here.

What is a third dose and who can get it?

If you received either the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine and are immunocompromised, you need a third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine following your initial vaccine series. The third dose is to help people get the same level of protection (or immunity) as people who are not immunocompromised. After you get the third dose, you can get a booster when you are eligible.

  • You must have had the first two doses of the Pfizer (Comirnaty) or Moderna (Spikevax) vaccine
  • It has been 28 days since your last COVID-19 vaccine
  • You have one of the following conditions:
    • History of solid organ transplant
    • History of bone marrow or stem cell transplant
    • Current cancer or on chemotherapy
    • Untreated or uncontrolled HIV
    • Chronic steroid use for one month or more
    • Use of immune modulating therapies such as Rituximab
    • Kidney disease requiring dialysis
    • Presence of cirrhosis
    • Inherited or acquired immune deficiency syndromes (AIDS)
Covid 19 Vaccines

Stop the spread

Getting vaccinated remains the most important and effective step to ending the coronavirus pandemic. AltaMed has free vaccine events. You can also contact our vaccine hotline at (888) 909-5232 to schedule your booster COVID-19 shot.

In the meantime, regardless of your vaccination status:

  • You need to follow local and state safety guidelines.
  • Wear a face mask when indoors or in crowds to protect yourself and others.
  • Maintain hand hygiene — use hand sanitizer to clean hands frequently, and wash hands for 20 seconds at a time.
  • Wipe down any surfaces you touch.

Stop the Spread of COVID-19 During the Holidays