Information about the COVID-19 vaccine and how to get it


Canva photo made by Nathanial McInnes

COVID-19 vaccines are now available to every person aged 16 and older in the United States.

Any Sacramento County residents aged 16 or older, as of Thursday, can now get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is free of charge.
Currently, there are three vaccines authorized by the CDC: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. The vaccines are not interchangeable. Do not get multiple vaccines for COVID-19.
Pfizer-BioNTech and Modern are mRNA vaccines, while Johnson & Johnson/Janssen is a viral vector vaccine. According to the CDC, vaccines that take advantage of mRNA technology teach cells how to make proteins that trigger the immune system response. In contrast, viral vector vaccines use an inert — and therefore harmless — piece of the COVID-19 virus to produce the spike protein that would signal an infection and thus start the production of antibodies. Both vaccine methods are considered safe and effective methods by the CDC.
The US Department of Health and Human Services says those who are at risk of a “severe allergic reaction” to ingredients in the vaccine should not get it. The department also cautions against getting it if someone has had a “severe reaction after a previous dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.”
Those who are unsure should consult their healthcare provider.
To note, the CDC and FDA have recommended pausing the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine due to a few recipients reporting blood clots.
The CDC is currently conducting clinical trials on two other vaccines: AstraZeneca and Novavax, however, individuals are not able to receive them right now.
There are side effects of the vaccine. It is recommended that the arm that received the injection is exercised to reduce pain and discomfort, according to documentation by the CDC..
Keep in mind that the second shot might cause more intense symptoms, such as fever and muscle pain. The CDC says that this means that the body is reacting positively to the vaccine.
According to the CDC, it takes two weeks after the vaccination process is completed – for Pfizer and Moderna recipients, this requires two shots – for an individual to be fully vaccinated.
In order to receive the vaccine, you need to schedule an appointment. The Department of Health Services reports that this is due to limited quantities, so a ‘first come, first serve’ implementation is in place.
To get an appointment, the Department of Health Services recommends using California’s MyTurn website or VaccineFinder.
MyTurn asks you your age range, county you live in and ZIP code. The service then displays locations with the option to schedule an appointment directly through MyTurn or through the clinics own website.
VaccineFinder allows you to filter which COVID-19 vaccine you want to receive. Putting your ZIP code in the search function and the search radius you are comfortable with displays a map over clinics offering the vaccine. From there, the website shows which vaccines are in stock and takes you to the clinic’s website to schedule your appointment.
There are five methods of getting the vaccine: Walk-thru clinics, drive-thru clinics, community vaccine sites, retail pharmacies, and through a medical provider. Individual locations and information on each can be found via the Department of Health Services website.
In general, most clinics will require you to check in via email or in-person. Once the dosage is given, you will receive a vaccination card. The CDC recommends clinics have patients be monitored for at least 15 minutes in case of “severe allergic reactions.”
The CDC recommends that those who are fully vaccinated continue to wear masks and practice social distancing.
The Sacramento County Department of Health Services allows those who are ages 16 and 17 to only receive the Pfizer vaccine. All other individuals can be administered any of the three that are approved.