FAQ - COVID-19 Vaccines
as of 10/6/2021

ELIGIBILITY


Who is eligible to be vaccinated?
Anyone 12 and over who live, attend school or work in Solano County can get vaccinated.

Are vaccines free?
Yes, vaccines are provided for free to anyone living in the United States, regardless of immigration or health insurance status.

How will I know when and where to go?  
Please check the Solano Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page for more information about vaccination locations within the county. You may also check with your healthcare provider to provide you with additional information about vaccine availability. More clinics can also be found using the state's MyTurn notification and vaccine clinic platform at http://www.myturn.ca.gov/, where you can find more information about vaccine clinics surrounding Solano County.  

How do I know when to come back for the second dose of vaccine?
If you need help scheduling your vaccine appointment for your second shot, contact the location that set up your appointment for assistance. You will be given a CDC vaccine card with additional information including the follow up vaccination. If you received your vaccine through the mass vaccination clinic or popup vaccine clinics hosted by Solano County, please see the list of previous vaccine clinics on the www.solanocounty.com/covidvaccine page for more information. 

COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOT

Who is eligible for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster?
  • Anyone who is 65 years and older
  • Anyone who is age 18-64 and a resident in a long-term care setting
  • Anyone who is age 18-64 and has underlying medical conditions that increase their risk of severe complications
  • Please see the CDC definition of medical conditions
  • Anyone who is age 18-64 who work in high-risk settings

How long after getting my initial COVID-19 vaccines can I get an additional dose?
COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are available for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients who completed their initial series at least 6 months ago.

When can I get a COVID-19 vaccine booster if I am NOT in one of the recommended groups?
Additional populations may be recommended to receive a booster shot as more data become available. The COVID-19 vaccines approved and authorized in the United States continue to be effective at reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Experts are looking at all available data to understand how well the vaccines are working for different populations. This includes looking at how new variants, like Delta, affect vaccine effectiveness. 

What should people who received Moderna or Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen (J&J/Janssen) vaccine do?   
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and CDC’s recommendations are bound by what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) authorization allows. At this time, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster authorization only applies to people whose primary series was Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. People in the recommended groups who got the Moderna or J&J/Janssen vaccine will likely need a booster shot at some point. More data on the effectiveness and safety of Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots are expected soon. With those data in hand, CDC will keep the public informed with a timely plan for Moderna and J&J/Janssen booster shots.  

If we need a booster shot, does that mean that the vaccines aren’t working?   
No. COVID-19 vaccines are working well to prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant. However, public health experts are starting to see reduced protection, especially among certain populations, against mild and moderate disease.   

Where can I get a Pfizer vaccine booster?   
Please check the Solano Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page for more information about vaccination locations within the county. You may also check with your healthcare provider to provide you with additional information about vaccine availability. Qualifying individuals can also schedule an appointment at their nearest pharmacy that administers booster doses. These include Walmart pharmacy, Safeway pharmacy, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.     

IMMUNOCOMPROMISED ADDITIONAL DOSE

How long after getting my initial COVID-19 vaccines can I get an additional dose?  
The CDC recommends the additional dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine be administered at least four weeks after a second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those people who have severe medical conditions. Please see the CDC definition of medical conditions. 

Can you mix and match the vaccines?  
For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. A person should not receive more than three mRNA vaccine doses. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.  

What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine do?  
The FDA’s recent EUA amendment only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, as does CDC’s recommendation.  Emerging data have demonstrated that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection following two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.  

What are the benefits of people receiving an additional vaccine dose?  
An additional dose may prevent serious and possibly life-threatening COVID-19 in people who may not have responded to their initial vaccine series because of severe underlying immunocompromising conditions.  In ongoing clinical trials, the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna) have been shown to prevent COVID-19 following the two-dose series. Limited information suggests that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection after two doses of mRNA vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine.  

What are the risks of vaccinating individuals with an additional dose?  
There is limited information about the risks of receiving an additional dose of vaccine, and the safety, efficacy, and benefit of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine in immunocompromised people continues to be evaluated. So far, reactions reported after the third mRNA dose were similar to that of the two-dose series: fatigue and pain at injection site were the most commonly reported side effects, and overall, most symptoms were mild to moderate.  However, as with the two-dose series, serious side effects are rare, but may occur.   

Where can I get an additional dose if I am immunocompromised?  
Please check the Solano Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information page for more information about vaccination locations within the county. You may also check with your healthcare provider to provide you with additional information about vaccine availability. Qualifying individuals can also schedule an appointment at their nearest pharmacy that administers booster doses. These include Walmart pharmacy, Safeway pharmacy, CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.

SAFETY AND EFFECTIVENESS

Why should I get vaccinated?
Vaccination is an important tool to help stop the pandemic. It protects you and others by reducing infection and the spread of COVID-19. Together, the vaccine and other public health measures (like wearing a face covering and social distancing) will offer the best protection from COVID-19, reducing further spread so businesses and schools can fully reopen and we can return to a more normal way of life.


Are the vaccines safe and effective?
Yes, the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. It has undergone tens of thousands of clinical trials, and has met the FDA's rigorous standards for safety needed to support emergency use. Vaccines have a long history of safety and effectiveness. While infrastructure to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines is being scaled up as quickly as possible, routine processes and procedures are in place to ensure the safety of any vaccine that is authorized or approved for use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates. The State of California also conducts its own review of the vaccines’ clinical data to ensure they’re safe to use. The CDC, Food and Drug Administration and healthcare providers will continue safety monitoring as more people are vaccinated to learn about any additional vaccine side effects.

How does the vaccine work?
The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are mRNA vaccines, and they do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, they cannot give someone COVID-19. The vaccines do not contain live viruses that could cause infection, are rapidly broken down by the human body after injection and do not interact with or affect with a person's DNA. The vaccines use messenger RNA to teach the body's own cells to produce antibodies to protect itself from COVID-19. Both vaccines require two doses over a three- to four-week period.

The J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is a viral vector vaccine, meaning it uses a modified version of a different virus to deliver important instructions to our cells.

What are the side effects?
Common side effects include pain and swelling on the injection site and fever, chills, tiredness and headache throughout the rest of the body. These side effects are normal signs that the body is building protections. These side effects may affect the ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Both Pfizer and Moderna have created fact sheets that include common side effects and other information you should know:

Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet
Get the Facts on Vaccines Fact Sheet

If I am pregnant, can I still receive the vaccine?
If you are pregnant, you may choose to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Based on how the vaccines work in the body, experts believe they are unlikely to pose a specific risk for people who are pregnant. You may want to have a conversation with your healthcare provider to help you decide whether to get vaccinated with a vaccine that has been authorized for use under Emergency Use Authorization. However, there are currently limited data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people.  

What happens if I miss or am late for the second dose of the series? 
If you miss your second dose appointment, you should reschedule as soon as possible. The CDC recommends following recommended guidelines, but if this is not feasible, the second dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccine can be administered up to six weeks after the first one. Both doses are needed for full protection. A single dose conveys a lower degree of protection from the virus than two doses. There is no reason to schedule a third dose if the second is received late.

Can I take my dose early if I have a scheduling conflict?
The CDC indicates that it is safe to administer vaccines up to four days early. Anything beyond that should be considered an error and reported (to your healthcare provider or directly to the Vaccine Adverse Event  Reporting System).

What if I get infected with COVID-19 after the first dose of vaccine but before the second one? Will I need to wait and retake the first dose or just get the second?
There is no need to retake the first dose. Self-isolate for 10 days from symptom onset or from the testing date if you are asymptomatic. Schedule your second dose appointment after the self-isolation period is complete.

FULLY VACCINATED INDIVIDUALS

What can fully vaccinated individuals do after getting vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated once it has been two weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series, or 2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine.
Fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
- Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel (unless required by the destination)
- Refrain from testing before leaving the U.S. for international travel (unless required by the destination)

How long is the protection from the COVID-19 vaccine?
We are still unsure of the length of the protection for the vaccines. Experts are working to learn more about both natural immunity and vaccine-induced immunity to the COVID-19 virus.