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Shasta County's Response to Local Emergencies

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Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

We know you have many questions about the vaccines and how they affect you and your loved ones. Below is a collection of common questions. We'll continue to add to the list as we receive questions from the community. Submit your questions to COVID19@co.shasta.ca.us.

Do you have unanswered questions?

Call 211 for frequently asked questions about coronavirus, or email COVID19@co.shasta.ca.us


New: Vaccine for ages 12-15

Vaccine available for ages 12 and up: Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by the FDA for people aged 12-15. It was found to be safe and effective in protecting children as young as 12 in clinical trials. The COVID-19 vaccine is free for all Californians, regardless of insurance and immigration status. 

Do parents need to be present for a child under 18 to be vaccinated? We encourage a parent/guardian to attend the vaccination appointment with their child. Each Shasta County vaccine provider has their own consent process. Families should check with their vaccine provider on acceptable forms of consent. CDPH has issued Pfizer vaccine minor consent guidance.

Do providers need parental consent before administering COVID-19 vaccine to a minor? Yes. Vaccine providers must obtain consent from a parent, legal guardian, or other adult having legal custody before vaccinating a minor. There are some exceptions:  

  • Emancipated minors do not need the consent of a parent or guardian to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Providers may accept written consent from a parent or legal guardian of an unaccompanied minor. 
  • If a provider has a written authorization for general medical care of a minor on file, a separate consent from a parent or guardian is not required. However, the provider may still request it.

Find more questions and answers about youth vaccination here

When and where can I get vaccinated?

Everyone age 12 and older can get vaccine in Shasta County now. People age 12-17 can only receive Pfizer vaccine at this time. Schedule an appointment by going to the 'Vaccinations' page of ShastaReady.org.

You can get the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine after 21 days and the second dose of Moderna after 28 days. However, second doses may be administered up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose.

Our mobile vaccination team provides access to COVID-19 vaccines for individuals not able to use other clinic options. The Mobile Vaccination Team Referral Form provides detailed criteria for determining eligibility. If you are a healthcare provider who thinks a patient or site may be eligible for a mobile visit, please submit a referral to DOC45@co.shasta.ca.us.

The County has a mobile vaccination team and several community providers are also using mobile clinics to vaccinate hard-to-reach populations, including the unsheltered, homeless, medically fragile and those who can't leave their homes.

Safety

As a health department, it is our goal to ensure everyone in the county is safe and healthy. Shasta County will not distribute a vaccine unless the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined it is safe and effective. The FDA oversees and regulates vaccine quality, safety and effectiveness. After the FDA determines a COVID-19 vaccine is safe, the Advisory Committee of Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews the clinical trial data and provides advice and guidance to the Centers for Disease Control.

In addition to federal review, California has formed a panel of public health and immunization experts—the Scientific Safety Review Workgroup—to further review the efficacy and safety data of COVID-19 vaccines approved by the FDA. 

National vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for rare side effects (called adverse events) that may not have been seen in clinical trials. If the symptoms are true safety concerns, the guidelines for the vaccine will be changed. This monitoring ensures that the vaccine’s benefits continue to outweigh the risks. 

Visit the CDC for more information on the Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines and to report unusual side effects following any vaccination (see links under "Existing Safety Monitoring Systems").  

Below are some of the benefits:

  1. Prevent serious illness: A COVID-19 vaccine helps keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. It also protects people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  2. Help stop the pandemic: Scientists estimate that to control COVID-19, about 7 or 8 of every 10 people will need to be vaccinated to control the virus. Given that the U.S. population is more than 330 million people, this means that almost 250 million will need to receive the vaccination to reach this goal.
  3. Build protection safely: The risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity. COVID-19 can have serious, life-threatening complications, and there is no ways to know how COVID-19 will affect you. The vaccination will help protect you by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness.

You might have fatigue, headache, body aches, soreness at the site of injection and even some fever. These are normal immune responses to vaccines and are your body’s natural response in building immunity. The second dose might have stronger side effects than the first.

You can register with V-Safe , a smartphone based tool that uses texts and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Read the V-Safe flyer  for more information.

California’s Scientific Safety Review Workgroup also conducts reviews to ensure the safety and efficacy of any vaccine approved by the FDA.

After a vaccine is authorized or approved for use, many vaccine safety monitoring systems watch for adverse events (possible side effects). This continued monitoring can pick up on adverse events that may not have been seen in clinical trials.

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), a national vaccine safety surveillance program, collects and analyzes adverse events associated with U.S. licensed vaccines. Anyone can submit a report to VAERS, including providers, patients and parents.

Providers: Under the Emergency Use Authorization, providers are required to report serious negative side effects to VAERS or to the vaccine’s manufacturer per its Fact Sheet.

Public: The public should report unusual side effects to one of the nation's safety monitoring systems for the general public, military members, veterans and tribal nations. Or, call VAERS toll-free number at 1-800-822-7967.

For an additional layer of safety monitoring, the CDC has introduced the V-safe app. It is a smartphone-based health checker for people who receive COVID-19 vaccines. V-safe uses text messaging and web surveys to:

The app allows the CDC and FDA to evaluate COVID-19 vaccine safety in real time and make sure vaccines are as safe as possible.

Public Health has worked with long-term care facilities since long before this pandemic began, to help them create and implement the processes and protocols necessary to prevent a communicable disease outbreak, and to respond quickly if one does happen. Most long-term care facilities have quickly and effectively isolated COVID-19 positive staff and residents to ensure that any spread is either non-existent or minimal. 

Experts address some common concerns:

Our most recent research shows that it is safe for pregnant women to get any of the three COVID vaccinations. Specific safety concerns should be directed to your doctor, but general concerns have been addressed by the California Department of Public Health in English  and Spanish .

Vaccine

Moderna and Pfizer are two-dose vaccines, and Johnson & Johnson is one dose. 

Immunity begins about 2 weeks after the first dose, but maximum immunity may not be achieved for 2 to 4 weeks after the second dose. Therefore, it is possible that a person could be infected by COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and then get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to provide full protection.

According to the CDC, people should be vaccinated even if they had COVID-19, but they should wait until they have recovered from illness (if they had symptoms) and they have met criteria to discontinue isolation. This also applies to people who became infected after their first dose, but before their second.

While there is no recommended minimum interval between infection and vaccination, current evidence suggests that the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection is low in the months after initial infection.

Vaccine is free, regardless of insurance status. Providers, however, can charge for administering the vaccine, which insurance would cover. Providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

No version of the vaccine contains a live virus, so they do not cause COVID-19. Instead, the vaccine boosts your immune system, preparing it to take on COVID-19 and keep you safe.

Yes. Vaccines protect you from getting sick from COVID-19, but you may still be able to transmit the virus. Because we are still learning about immunity to this virus, it is important to continue to wear a mask and socially distance even after getting vaccinated, until more people receive vaccines.

Yes, but studies are showing that they are not as effective in protecting against some of the variants. However, vaccine is still the best option to protect yourself and the community. 

There is no evidence that the vaccine causes mutations or cellular defects associated with infertility.

No. COVID-19 vaccines do not change or interact with your DNA in any way. Both mRNA and viral vector COVID-19 vaccines deliver instructions (genetic material) to our cells to start building protection against the virus that causes COVID. However, the material never enters the nucleus of the cell, which is where our DNA is kept. Learn more about  mRNA  and  viral vector  COVID-19 vaccines.

In August, the FDA amended the emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for both the Pfizer/Comirnaty and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to allow for the use of an additional dose. The third dose is NOT a booster shot and is only recommended for immunocompromised individuals who may not have had a strong enough immune response after receiving the initial vaccine series. These conditions include:

  • Receiving treatment for solid tumors or blood cancers
  • Taking immunosuppressing medications after a solid organ transplant
  • Within two years of receiving CAR-T therapy or a stem cell transplant
  • Those with primary immunodeficiencies - rare genetic disorders that prevent the immune system from working properly
  • Advanced or untreated HIV
  • Taking high-dose corticosteroids (more than 20 milligrams of prednisone or its equivalent daily), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, chemotherapy, TNF blockers, or other immunomodulating or immunosuppressing biologics
  • Certain chronic medical conditions, such as chronic renal diseas or asplenia
  • Those on dialysis
Individuals should always consult with their primary care doctor about their own clinical situation. Additional doses should be administered at least 28 days after the completion of the primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series. Whenever possible, mRNA COVID-19 vaccination doses, including both the primary series and additional dose, should be given at least two weeks before initiation of immunosuppressive therapies.

 

A booster shot is an additional vaccine dose needed to "boost" protection against disease, as immunity wanes in the months after receiving the initial vaccine series. Pfizer (Comirnaty) boosters are now approved for eligible groups. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are not available yet, so Pfizer boosters should only be given to individuals who got the Pfizer vaccine as their primary vaccine series. The Pfizer booster is highly recommended for people who are:

  • 65 years and older
  • Residing in a long-term care facility
  • Age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions
Other eligible groups include people who are:
  • Age 18-64 with underlying medical conditions
  • At increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to occupational or institutional settings
Sign up for a booster dose by visiting myturn.ca.gov or by calling the Public Health Clinic at 225-5591 to make an appointment.

 

Planning & Development

The California Department of Public Health worked with local health departments to plan for and distribute COVID-19 vaccines. Some types of vaccines require ultra-cold freezers and are delivered in large quantities. Shasta County Public Health has an ultra-cold freezer, as do other North State providers, so they can properly maintain and administer COVID-19 vaccine as well as meet additional federal and state requirements.

Shasta County sends a weekly request to the state Department of Public Health.