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.
To help you make an informed decision, you can review the FDA fact sheet for caregivers and recipients for each vaccine:
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 use 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.
What does the CDC mask guidance mean for local and state regulations where I live? My workplace? Local businesses?
Everyone should continue to follow local and state rules and regulations, which may or may not have changed since the CDC released new recommendations. In addition, everyone should comply with the practices of businesses that continue to require masks. This is particularly important in indoor settings where vaccinated and unvaccinated people may interact. While many local and state governments, workplaces, and businesses updated their mask policies since the CDC issued its new recommendations, others have not, and others still may wait for additional guidance from the CDC.
Masks are required at all times by everyone visiting an AltaMed facility, even those who have been fully vaccinated
I’m not fully vaccinated. What does the CDC mask guidance mean for me?
The guidance on wearing masks has not changed for unvaccinated people or partially vaccinated people, who should continue to wear a mask and maintain social distance, particularly when indoors or in crowded outdoor settings. To protect their friends, family, and community, unvaccinated people age 2 and older should wear a well-fitted mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in their household. Unvaccinated people do not need to wear a mask outdoors if they practice social distancing or when they are at small outdoor gatherings where all other guests are fully vaccinated. You are not fully vaccinated until two weeks have passed since your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or since your one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
I’m fully vaccinated. What does the new CDC mask guidance mean for me?
If you are fully vaccinated — which means two weeks have passed since your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or since your one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — you have a very low risk of contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others. You can resume normal activities without wearing a mask, with some notable exceptions. For example, fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in health care settings, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, public transportation, and airplanes. Additionally, vaccinated people should continue to follow local and state regulations, including individual business (such as retail stores and restaurants) and workplace requirements, which may differ from CDC guidance depending on local scenarios and transmission rates.
While COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective, no vaccine provides 100% immunity. Even with new and evolving guidance, fully vaccinated individuals may make the personal decision to continue to wear a mask based on their own risk assessment and preference. Those with certain medical conditions such as immuno-suppression should consult their physicians regarding the continuation of mask-wearing and other protective measures.
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?
After receiving the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine, monitor for any of the following symptoms between four to 28 days after being vaccinated:
Severe or persistent headache
Severe or persistent blurry vision
Shortness of breath
Persistent abdominal pain
New severe swelling, pain, or color change of the arm or leg
Abnormal bruising, reddish or purple spots or blood blisters under the skin
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.
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.
What are the symptoms to look for after receiving the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines?
Persons who have received dermal fillers may develop swelling at or near the filler injection site. After receiving the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, contact your medical provider if swelling develops at or near the filler injection site, usually in the face or lips.
Is it safe to get other vaccines at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes. The CDC states that additional vaccines (including childhood immunizations and the flu vaccines) may be given the same day or within 14 days of the COVID-19 vaccine.
What are myocarditis and pericarditis?
Myocarditis is inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis is inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. The symptoms are chest pain, shortness of breath, or an abnormal heartbeat (fast, fluttering, or pounding). There have been some cases of males 16 and older getting myocarditis and pericarditis after their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Most patients who received care quickly felt better.
The CDC still recommends the COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 12 years of age and older. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the risks, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis.
If I got vaccinated, do I need to worry about the Delta Varriant?
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. You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after your last shot.
What is Guillian Barre Syndrome?
Guillain Barré syndrome is a neurological disorder that damages nerve cells and causes muscle weakness in some people who have received the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine. Out of the 12.8 million people who have received the Janssen vaccine, there have only been 100 people suspected of getting Guillian Barry Syndrome.
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.
- 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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