COVID-19 Vaccine Resources
Schedule a COVID-19 Vaccination
Frequently Asked Questions
About the COVID-19 Vaccines
Vaccines are designed to activate the human body’s immune response to fight an infection. If you become infected with COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated, your immune system will recognize the infection and work to fight it.
Both currently available mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna require two doses. You’ll get an initial vaccination, then a second shot — 3-8 weeks later for the Pfizer vaccine or 4-8 weeks later for the Moderna vaccine.
The second dose stimulates a greater immune response, offering the recipient far more protection from COVID-19. The appointment for your second dose will be scheduled during your first appointment at the same location.
The Janssen/J&J vaccine is administered as a single shot that provides maximum protection 14 days after administration.
According to the CDC, you should still get the COVID-19 vaccine even if you have been infected with COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you’re protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it’s possible, although rare, that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again. Studies have shown that vaccination provides a strong boost in protection in people who have recovered from COVID-19.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. Although the vaccines are highly effective, the vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing an infection. While COVID-19 vaccines reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others, there’s no absolute guarantee that they will.
Based on CDPH and CDC guidelines, pregnancy is considered a high-risk condition, with an increased chance of complications from COVID-19. According to the CDC, there’s currently no evidence that COVID-19 vaccination causes any problems with pregnancy, including the development of the placenta. In addition, there’s no evidence that fertility problems are a side effect of any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines. Discuss the risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy, and the risks and benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine, with your healthcare provider.
Learn more about pregnancy and delivery at Sutter during COVID-19.
According to the CDC, COVID 19-vaccines are effective. They can protect you from severe illness and even death from a COVID-19 infection. The vaccine can keep you from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. By getting the vaccine, you're protecting yourself, your loved ones and your community.
COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters, are still your best option to help protect against serious illness, hospitalization, and even death. The CDC recommends all people approved for a COVID-19 vaccine stay current with their primary and booster doses.
In most cases, you can receive the COVID-19 vaccine after you're out of isolation and your symptoms are getting better. In most cases, you may discontinue isolation when all of the following are met:
- 10 days have passed since the symptoms began and
- At least 24 hours have passed since you have had no fever and you were not using fever reducing medications and
- Other symptoms have improved.
If you have a condition that causes a decrease in immune system function, please check with your healthcare provider about how long isolation should last and when it’s safe for you to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If you were treated for COVID-19 with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider if you’re unsure what treatments you received or if you have more questions about getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the CDC, the three COVID-19 vaccines in use in the United States, Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen/J&J, are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines are not experimental. They went through all the required stages of clinical trials. Extensive testing and monitoring have shown that these vaccines are safe and effective.
None of the authorized COVID-19 vaccines contain the live virus. This means that you cannot get COVID-19 from any of the vaccines.
According to the CDC, if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, you should not get either of the currently available mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Please see the Pfizer and Moderna Fact Sheets for ingredient lists and more information. If you had a severe allergic reaction after getting the first dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC recommends that you should not get the second dose. An evaluation and treatment by an allergist may enable you to receive the second dose.
According to Jansen/J&J, you should not receive the Janssen/J&J viral vector vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction to any ingredient in the vaccine. Please see the Janssen/J&J Fact Sheet for an ingredient list and more information.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines don’t 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-19. The genetic material in the vaccines cannot affect or interact with our DNA in any way. All COVID-19 vaccines work with the body’s natural defenses to safely develop immunity to disease.
Yes, please bring your insurance or Medicare/Medi-Cal card to your vaccination. There’s no out-of-pocket cost to you to get the COVID-19 vaccine, though your insurance may be billed for the administration of the vaccine.
You can call (844) 987-6115 to schedule your child’s vaccination or book an appointment through My Health Online. Please note that your pediatrician's office can't schedule or give your child's COVID-19 vaccination at this time.
If you don’t have a My Health Online account, sign up now. Teens can enroll in My Health Online at their provider’s office or by calling (866) 978-8837 if there’s a parental or guardian consent on file. Consent cannot be given over the phone. Learn more.
After enrolling with My Health Online, teen patients (age 12-17) can sign in to the website or mobile app and make their appointment online. Parents or guardians with proxy access to a child’s My Health Online account are able to help schedule their COVID-19 vaccination. However, once the appointment is scheduled, the details will only be visible to teen patients in their own accounts.
Teens age 12-17 will need to bring a signed consent form to their vaccination appointment.
COVID-19 Vaccine Consent Form
Yes, if you’re 17 and under, you need parental or guardian consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Bring a parent or guardian to your vaccine appointment, or download the appropriate consent form, fill out a questionnaire and bring both with you.
COVID-19 Vaccine Consent Form
COVID-19 Vaccine Questionnaire
Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you should be able to go ahead with most routine procedures and screenings either before or after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. However, talk to your doctor about getting a vaccine if you’re scheduling a surgery, hospitalization or a procedure that requires anesthesia.
Please wait 4-6 weeks after vaccination to schedule your mammogram. Learn more.
There’s no out-of-pocket cost to you to get the COVID-19 vaccine, though your insurance may be billed for the administration of the vaccine.
If you have Medicare, the plan covers FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Be sure to bring your red, white, and blue Medicare card with you. You’ll need your Medicare card even if you’re enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan.
If you have Medi-Cal, the plan covers FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Be sure to bring your Medi-Cal Benefits Identification Card with you. You’ll need your Medi-Cal card even if you’re enrolled in a Medi-Cal Managed Care Plan.
COVID-19 vaccines are now available for anyone over age 5. You can schedule a vaccination appointment for yourself or a child through My Health Online. We’re giving vaccines at dedicated clinics as well as at our Sutter Walk-In Care locations. All vaccinations are by appointment only.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are effective. Getting vaccinated will help to boost your child’s immune response against COVID-19. It’s the best way to protect children against COVID-19 and its complications.
Currently, only Pfizer’s COVID-19 pediatric vaccine has been approved in children ages 5-11 years. Neither the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved for this age group.
The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine dose for younger children is 10 micrograms, which is 1/3 of the dose for adolescents and adults. The vaccine is administered in two doses — children will receive an initial vaccination, then a second dose 21 days later.
Clinical trials in children ages 5-11 years found the vaccine to be 90.9% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19.
The CDC recommends vaccinating at the earliest opportunity. Children should receive the recommended vaccine dose according to their age at the time of immunization and regardless of their size or weight. Currently, only Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are approved in either age group.
Sutter is now scheduling Pfizer's pediatric COVID-19 vaccine for kids ages 5-11. Call (844) 987-6115 or sign in to My Health Online to book.
Like older groups, children have the option of getting their vaccine through Sutter or from other community resources, including school clinics and retail pharmacies. Check My Turn for locations near you.
In clinical trials, vaccine side effects were mild and similar to those seen in adults and with other vaccines recommended for children. The most common side effect was a sore arm. Other symptoms may include headache, fatigue or fever.
The CDC says the known benefits of the COVID vaccine far outweigh the potential risk of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis. According to a recent study, it’s much more common to develop myocarditis from COVID-19 than the vaccine. In very rare cases, vaccinated adolescents and young adults have developed inflammation of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or lining (pericarditis).
No. You’re not required to consult your child’s care provider before they receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Yes. The CDC advises that children can get the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as other vaccines.
Yes, children should still get the COVID-19 vaccine even if they’ve had COVID-19. According to the CDC, there isn’t enough information to know if children have natural immunity from being sick from COVID-19 or how long it will last after recovering. Talk with your child’s pediatrician if you have additional questions about when to vaccinate your child after they’ve had COVID-19.
After Your Vaccination
According to the CDC, you may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days. Some people have no side effects. The most common side effects include pain, redness and swelling in the arm where you got the shot. Effects that may be experienced throughout the body include:
- Muscle pain
In rare cases, a more severe allergic reaction can occur. When you receive your vaccine, you’ll need to remain on site for at least 15 minutes so you can be monitored for any signs of an allergic reaction.
According to the CDC, reactions reported after the third Pfizer or Moderna dose were similar to those experienced after the first and second dose. Most symptoms are expected to be mild to moderate.
Learn more about what you can expect after your COVID-19 vaccination.
The CDC is constantly reviewing evidence and updating guidance. It’s not known how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. What is known is that COVID-19 has caused very serious illness and death for a lot of people. If you get COVID-19, you also risk giving it to loved ones who may get very sick. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer choice.
Typically, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
- Two weeks after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine.
Until you reach full vaccination status, you should continue to wear a mask and maintain a distance of six feet from others.
According to the CDC, once you're fully vaccinated, you can get back to doing most activities that you did prior to the pandemic. You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance. If you travel in the continental United States, you do not need to get a COVID-19 test before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
You can download your COVID-19 vaccination information, create a QR code for sharing it, add vaccination details and access COVID-19 test results through My Health Online. Sign in to your My Health Online account or enroll now.
Once you’re signed in, click Your Menu and under My Record, click COVID-19. Then you can:
- Download your information — Use Download/Export and follow the directions. If you’re on the mobile app, you can add vaccination information to your mobile wallet or take a screenshot. If you’re on your desktop or laptop, you can print the page or save a PDF file to a secure location.
- Add details of a vaccine you received outside Sutter — Select Enter Vaccine Details and follow the directions to enter your vaccination information. Note that you’ll need to upload proof of vaccination, such as a photo of your vaccine card. Once your details are validated, they’ll be accessible in your My Health Online record and available to share.
- Create a QR code — Click the QR Codes button and print the code or take a screenshot to share your vaccination information.
Watch our instructional videos:
Common side effects may include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, nausea and fever up to 72 hours after vaccination.
However, according to the CDC, if you develop severe headache or blurred vision, chest pain, abdominal pain, leg swelling, shortness of breath or easy bruising or blood spots under the skin by the injection site within three weeks of your vaccination, seek medical care right away. If you experience sudden onset of severe symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Women younger than 50 years old should be aware of the rare but increased risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS). TTS is a serious condition that involves blood clots with low platelets.
Currently, additional doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine are approved for some immunocompromised people only.
Please refer to the CDC’s website for detailed guidance on COVID-19 vaccines for those who may be moderately or severely immunocompromised. This group includes those who have received an organ transplant, cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood or a stem cell transplant. If you have an advanced or untreated HIV infection or are diagnosed with another moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency or taking drugs that suppress your immune response, you also qualify to receive the additional dose.
If you were moderately to severely immunocompromised at the time of your first and second dose or have recently become immunocompromised, you may not know whether you need a additional dose. If you’re not sure, please consult your doctor.
Currently, you aren't required to provide documentation from your physician confirming you're eligible for a additional dose.
The CDC currently recommends certain individuals with moderately to severely compromised immune systems get an additional dose of their primary COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC recommendation varies based on an individual’s age and the vaccine type. Please review the following table for more information.
Additional Dose Recommendations
Recommended Ages Pfizer Moderna Janssen/J&J Age 4 and under No No No Ages 5 to 17 Yes – 28 days after the second dose No No Age 18 and older Yes – 28 days after the second dose Yes – 28 days after the second dose Yes – 28 days after the first dose (mRNA preferred)
For those 5 years and older, including immunocompromised people, the CDC recommends a booster dose. If you're eligible for an additional dose after your primary series, you should get this dose first before you get a booster shot.
Booster Dose Recommendations
Recommended Ages Pfizer Moderna Janssen/J&J Age 4 and under No No No Ages 5 to 11 Yes – a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech pediatric COVID-19 vaccine should be given 5 months after additional dose. No No Ages 12 to 17 Yes – a first booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine should be given 3 months after additional dose; a second booster dose should be given at least 4 months after the first booster dose. No No Age 18 and older Yes – a first booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna should be given 3 months after additional dose; a second booster dose should be given at least 4 months after the first booster dose. Yes – a first booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna should be given 3 months after additional dose; a second booster dose should be given at least 4 months after the first booster dose. Yes – a first booster dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna should be given 2 months after additional dose; a second booster dose should be given at least 4 months after the first booster dose.
Additional dose appointments can’t be scheduled through your provider’s office. You can consult your doctor to determine whether you’re eligible for an additional dose if you’re unsure.
If you're age 5-17 and immunocompromised, you can receive an additional dose of the age-appropriate Pfizer vaccine with consent. Bring your parent or guardian to your vaccination or have them sign this form (English PDF | Spanish PDF), fill out a questionnaire (English PDF | Spanish PDF) and bring both signed documents with you.
If your vaccination status isn't on file with us, we recommend you bring your vaccination card or other proof of vaccination to your appointment.
According to the CDC, an additional dose is intended to improve immunocompromised people’s response to their initial vaccine series. A booster dose is given to people when the immune response to a primary vaccine series is likely to have decreased over time.
No, the CDC hasn’t issued recommendations for mixing additional doses for those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised.
Pfizer and Moderna Boosters
The CDC recommends boosters of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 5 years and older and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for anyone 18 and older. You’re eligible for a booster after your initial series if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least five months ago. Call (844) 987-6115 or sign in to My Health Online to book.
Some individuals are eligible for a second booster of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. Per updated CDC recommendations, immunocompromised patients and people over age 50 should receive an additional booster at least four months after their first booster.
You can also check My Turn for available vaccination appointments near you.
The CDC recommends booster shots of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine only for those who received the J&J vaccine two or more months ago. If you received the J&J vaccine and would like a Pfizer or Moderna booster, call (844) 987-6115 or book through My Health Online.
Anyone over age 18 who received a primary dose and booster of the J&J vaccine at least four months ago can now get a second booster of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine through Sutter.
Currently, Sutter isn’t offering booster doses of the J&J vaccine. Some retail pharmacies offer this option. Check My Turn for locations near you.
Call (844) 987-6115 or sign in to My Health Online to book Pfizer or Moderna boosters. If you’re unable to find an appointment at Sutter or would like a booster with the J&J vaccine, most retail pharmacies are providing booster shots. Check My Turn for locations near you.
We’re not currently offering the J&J vaccine but if you're 18 years or older, you can schedule a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine no matter which vaccine you received in your primary series (Pfizer, Moderna or J&J). If you’re eligible for a booster, call (844) 987-6115 or book through My Health Online.
If you would like a booster with the J&J vaccine, most retail pharmacies are providing booster shots. Check My Turn for locations near you.
According to the CDC, the reactions reported after Pfizer and Moderna booster doses were similar to those of the first and second dose of the vaccines. Most symptoms are expected to be mild to moderate.
Yes. In accordance with CDC guidance, Sutter Health is administering primary vaccines or boosters to individuals who received FDA-authorized or WHO-EUL vaccines for COVID-19 outside of the U.S. Appointments are available through Sutter by calling (844) 987-6115.