COVID-19 Testing and Vaccine Information
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COVID-19 Testing

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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

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Urgent Care & COVID-19

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How We Are Keeping You Safe

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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

Vaccine Distribution Plan

Sansum Clinic’s current vaccine supply and future allocation is managed by the state, and our distribution plan is under the specific direction of the Santa Barbara Public Health Department. We ask for your patience as we adhere to this direction to offer the vaccine to everyone as quickly as possible. See the Public Health Department’s distribution guidelines.

We are committed to keeping you up-to-date about how to get vaccinated, so please continue to check this website for updates on vaccine availability and eligibility for Sansum Clinic patients.

Date updated: 2-18-2021

Who is currently eligible for a vaccine at Sansum Clinic?

On February 12, 2021, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department announced that as of Tuesday, February 16, individuals age 65 years and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
 
Sansum Clinic is currently following the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s guidelines on COVID-19 vaccine distribution, to ensure we are able to vaccinate as many people as possible, in the most appropriate order.
 
Unfortunately, just because the county announced that people ages 65 and older are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination does not mean that we have received more vaccine to give out.

What You Can Do Now

If you are age 65 or above, and receive ongoing care at Sansum Clinic, you are now eligible to schedule a vaccine, or register for the Wait List.

By registering for the Wait List will automatically be contacted when an appointment becomes available: https://covid19.sansumclinic.org/waitlist.

Appointment slots for the COVID-19 vaccine continue to be limited due to a low and unreliable supply. We currently have many patients age 75+ who are already on our wait list for a COVID-19 vaccine, and we will offer appointments as quickly as possible based on supply.

If you have scheduled a visit for a COVID-19 vaccination for a date that is far into the future, you have automatically been added to our wait list and will be notified when an earlier appointment becomes available, as more vaccine becomes available.  

Your original appointment time will continue to be held until you accept the new appointment time. Please note that offers for earlier appointment dates will be time-sensitive.

We will continue to update patients on which age groups are eligible for vaccination as supply and appointment availability allows.

It is expected that the availability of the vaccine will increase over time and there should be sufficient supply for all adults to get vaccinated later in 2021.  

If you receive a vaccination somewhere else, please cancel your appointment at Sansum Clinic so we can offer that timeslot to another eligible patient.

Resources for Vaccine Availability in Santa Barbara County

This is a community-wide effort. You can also receive your vaccine through Cottage Health, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Lompoc Valley Medical Center and Marian Regional Medical Center.  Some pharmacies and other healthcare facilities may also have limited supplies. Please contact them directly.

We are encouraging people to get either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine wherever it is available, and as soon as it is available to you. There is no preference of one vaccine over another, but remember that the second dose of whichever vaccine you receive must be from the same manufacturer, and preferably from the same provider (i.e., we recommend you receive dose 1 and 2 at the same medical facility and/or pharmacy).

Cottage Health
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department
Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Marian Regional Medical Center
Local Pharmacies

Vaccines are the most effective protection against infectious diseases. When the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to you, we strongly encourage that you receive it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Many patients are calling with the questions below. Please review this information and if you have any additional questions, send a MyChart message to your primary care  provider.

Vaccine Availability

We were told MyChart was the best way to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination, but now that doesn’t seem to be an option?

When the Public Health Department added individuals age 65 and over to the list of people eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination, we needed a more efficient way to populate a very large wait list.

We may still utilize MyChart as a method for you to self-schedule in the future, but that will be dependent upon the amount of supply we receive. In the meantime, we have shifted to communicating by text message, email and phone call at this time. Our communication may continue to evolve as we see what is working best to ensurepatients are getting the information they need in the most timely manner.

Do I have to be active on MyChart to get on the wait list?

No. We have many processes in place to ensure equal access to those who are eligible and are seeking to schedule a vaccination appointment or seeking information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

We have been communicating with Sansum Clinic patients via text message, email, USPS mail, and telephone calls. Specifically, appointment availability has been made available in equal measure to MyChart and non-MyChart patients and our internal processes continue to ensure that. We also keep all of our information updated on our websites and telephone hotlines in English and Spanish. It is very important to us to ensure everyone has access to the information they need. The processes continue to evolve and we are doing our best to have consistent and accurate communication.

My friend who isn’t in an eligible age group was able to get the vaccine, and I’m eligible and haven’t received it yet. How did that happen?

At Sansum Clinic we have been very thoughtful about creating a fair and equitable process. Still, sometimes people will try to get vaccinated before it is their turn based on their age.  

We don’t have any control over the exceptions made by other organizations, and we know that all providers in Santa Barbara County are doing their best to follow the guidelines, which can be difficult when the guidelines are continuing to evolve.

I have a health condition that is considered a co-morbidity and my doctor said I should be eligible to get a vaccination. What should I do? Or, when will people with co-morbidities be eligible to schedule a vaccination?

The California Public Health Department announced that as of March 15, individuals with certain co-morbidities may be eligible to receive a vaccination. We are hopeful that at that time, the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department will be very specific about the guidelines for eligibility.

Until it is clear what the eligibility rules will be, your provider will be unable to tell you when you may be eligible and will be unable to provide you with documentation to prove your eligibility. As a result, there will be no reason to contact your provider about this at this time. As soon as we have a better understanding of the eligibility requirements, we will communicate our plans for vaccinating newly eligible patients.

How can I get the most up-to-date information?

  • All Sansum ClinicCOVID-19 information can be found at covid19.sansumclinic.org.
  • Text #COVID to (805)681-7500 for the latest information on vaccines, COVID-19 testing, and exposure risk or visit covid19.sansumclinic.org.
  • We update our recorded information hotline regularly. Call (805) 681-1790, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also available inSpanish.
  • To ensure you receive our periodic COVID-19 email updates from the Sansum Clinic CEO, please make sure you are signed up for MyChart, so we have your email address.

Why am I not receiving the COVID-19 email updates from Sansum Clinic CEO and Chief Medical Officer Kurt Ransohoff?

The COVID-19 email updates are sent to patients who receive ongoing care at Sansum Clinic and have a MyChart account. If you are not on MyChart but would like to receive future COVID-19 email updates, please sign up for MyChart online or you can call the MyChart Help Desk at (805) 898-3333.

Some healthcare organizations have experienced technical issues (i.e. “crashes”) when broad communications have driven large numbers of people to log into their systems. To prevent this from happening at Sansum Clinic, we are sending out the COVID-19 email updates in batches over 24 hours, so not everyone will receive it at the same time, but everyone should receive it within 24 hours.

We are sorry if this is inconvenient or creates concerns, but it is necessary so that we can prevent MyChart access issues due to high volume. If you are looking for the latest information on vaccines, COVID-19 testing, and exposure risk, visit covid19.sansumclinic.org.

What COVID-19 vaccines are available?

As of now, two pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have received emergency use authorization of their mRNA COVID-19 vaccines. Both vaccines are judiciously being sent out to acute care hospitals and large medical clinics in very limited dosages in order to vaccinate direct health care workers in the acute care setting. Sansum Clinic is administering the Moderna vaccination at this time.

Can you put me on the Wait List?

If you are age 65 or above, you are now eligible to register for the Wait List using this link: covid19.sansumclinic.org/waitlist.

Once you are on the Wait List, you will be notified when you have been offered an appointment time, with instructions for scheduling your appointment. Please note that offers for appointment dates will be time-sensitive.

Appointment slots for the COVID-19 vaccine continue to be limited due to a low and unreliable supply. We currently have many patients age 75+ who are already on our wait list for a COVID-19 vaccine, and we will offer appointments as quickly as possible based on supply.

Our website covid19.sansumclinic.org is the best way to get information about COVID-19 vaccinations, including opportunities to get on our Wait List for a COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible.

The Wait List is only available to those who are eligible to schedule a vaccination appointment, which at this is based on age.

What if I am eligible for the vaccine at Sansum Clinic but did not receive an email or letter?

Being notified is not a prerequisite to schedule your vaccine. If you are in the age group that is eligible to schedule a vaccine at Sansum Clinic, you are still able to do so by logging into MyChart.

I am eligible for a vaccine at Sansum Clinic, can my 65 year old or above partner who IS a patient of Sansum Clinic schedule their vaccine appointment for the same time?

We will do our best to accommodateeligible patients in order to make it as convenient as possible for you. Thiswill be dependent upon vaccine supply and appointment availability.

I am eligible for a vaccine at Sansum Clinic, can my 65 year old or above partner who is NOT a patient of Sansum Clinic schedule their vaccine appointment for the same time?  

No, due to the shortage of the vaccine, we are focusing on vaccinating patients who receive ongoing care at Sansum Clinic. Your partner should get his/her vaccine where he/she receives his/her ongoing healthcare.

Only those who are scheduled for a vaccine appointment will receive vaccine. No drop-ins or guests of patients are allowed, other than for transportation/mobility assistance.

Why the delay in being able to vaccinate patients?

This is a uniquely complex, community-wide vaccination campaign that requires an unprecedented level of partnership and collaboration, especially as initial supplies remain low.

We are working closely with our local, state and other partners to prioritize frontline healthcare workers who are most at risk, followed by those who are most vulnerable to the severe effects of COVID-19. According to CDC and state guidelines, hospitals and health systems are advised to prioritize frontline team members.

At the same time, we know many of our local county leaders have robust plans in place to prioritize vulnerable patients. Additionally, there are several retail organizations who are tasked in this collaborative effort as well.

Once supplies increase, we are expected to be able to begin offering to our patients as well, likely March or April, but if we are fortunate enough to get more vaccine sooner and are directed by the public health department to vaccinate other priority groups, after phase I priority groups have been vaccinated, we will do so.

Can I get a vaccination if I just show up without an appointment?

We do not accept walk-ins at our vaccine clinics. If you show up for a vaccination without an appointment and you are in the eligible age range, you will be asked to call to schedule an appointment or you can register for the Wait List at https://covid19.sansumclinic.org/waitlist.

If you are not eligible, you will be asked to wait to until we notify you directly with instructions about how to schedule a vaccination or to join the Wait List.

Do I need an order from my healthcare provider to get a COVID-19 vaccination?

You do not need an order from your healthcare provider to get a vaccination when you become eligible to schedule a vaccine. Due to the limited supply of vaccine available, we are following the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s guidelines to vaccinate patients based on age. You will be notified by email or mail (if you are not on MyChart) to schedule your vaccine when you become eligible.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccination when I come for my next appointment?

Right now, we are only providing COVID-19vaccine during designated vaccination clinic hours.

You will be notified when you are eligible to schedule a vaccine during our COVID-19 vaccination clinic hours, or to join the wait list.

While our goal is to eventually be able to provide in-office vaccinations in conjunction with other appointments, we are currently only offering COVID-19 vaccinations during our designated vaccination clinic hours.

What if I have an opportunity to receive the vaccine somewhere else?

This is a community-wide effort. You can also receive your vaccine through Cottage Health, Santa Barbara County Public Health Department, Lompoc Valley Medical Center and Marian Regional Medical Center, as well as some pharmacies and other health care facilities may also have limited supplies. Please contact them directly.

We are encouraging people to get either the Moderna vaccine or the Pfizer vaccine wherever it is available, and as soon as it is available to you. There is no preference of one vaccine formulation over another but remember that the second dose of which ever vaccine you receive must be from the same manufacturer, and preferably from the same provider (i.e. dose 1 and 2 both received at the same medical facility and/or pharmacy).

Cottage Health

Santa Barbara County Public Health Department

Lompoc Valley Medical Center

Marian Regional Medical Center

Local Pharmacies

When will we be notified that we can schedule a COVID vaccination?

We are followingPublic Health Department guidelines and will continue to communicate as we open our vaccine clinics up to new eligible groups, depending on vaccine supply and appointment availability. When you become eligible to schedule a vaccine or join the Wait List, you will be notified directly.

It is important to understand that we are being provided limited supply of vaccine, so even at the point at which the general patient population is eligible for vaccine, we may not have enough supply for everyone all at once

How will I know when to schedule my second dose?

As soon as you receive your first dose you will receive a notification that you are eligible to schedule your second dose. This is designed to ensure people have the required amount of time between doses. You may also have an opportunity to schedule your second dose when you are on site to receive your first dose. If you have not scheduled your 2nd dose close to the date it is coming due, we will reach out to schedule your appointment. Additionally, we encourage all patients to enroll in the CDC’s V-Safe program, which will send you a text message to see how you are feeling after getting the vaccine. The program will also send you a reminder text about your second dose but please keep in mind that you will need to schedule that directly with Sansum Clinic. Visit https://vsafe.cdc.gov/ for more information.

How do you define a Sansum Clinic patient for the purposes of prioritizing vaccine?

At this stage, a Sansum Clinic patient is someone who has had a face to face or Telehealth visit with a medical provider (MD, OD, nurse practitioner, physician assistant) in the last 18 months for a primary care or specialty care appointment (not including Urgent Care).

Will I be billed for the vaccine?

The vaccine itself is provided for free but Sansum Clinic will bill for vaccine administration, in accordance with guidelines from Medicare and most other insurance carriers. Patients will not be held responsible for any administration fees not covered by their insurance.

Why is there a low vaccine supply in Santa Barbara County?

While Sansum Clinic is approved to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine, we do not control the supply chain. The issues seem to be happening upstream of us. Vaccine manufacturers can only create so much vaccine, and it is shared not only throughout the United States, but also around the globe.  Vaccine has to be distributed from the federal government to state public health departments, and on down to the county public health department. There are many decisions beyond our control that impact how much we end up receiving, and when.  

Meanwhile, we have a robust infrastructure for scheduling and delivering vaccine, and yet an extremely limited number of doses to give.

When can the general public expect to get vaccinated with the new COVID-19 vaccine? 

While the vaccine is becoming available slowly, supplies are expected to increase over time so that most adults in the United States could potentially be vaccinated by late 2021. However, a COVID-19 vaccine may not be available for young children until more studies are completed. Click here to see who is currently eligible for a vaccine at Sansum Clinic.

What about vaccinating essential workers like teachers?

The Public Health Department will determine the vaccination plan and timing for essential workers including teachers. However, we have recently learned that the California Department of Public Health will likely start to utilize age to prioritize vaccine administration. We, and the rest of the Santa Barbara health care community, are vaccinating people based on factors that we can verify, and we are doing that based on age.

I am a community healthcare worker. Can I schedule a vaccine? 

While we have been able to vaccinate non-Sansum Clinic community healthcare workers over the past few weeks, we have now unfortunately reached capacity for vaccinating this population to limited vaccine supply. Any healthcare worker who received their first dose at Sansum Clinic will also be given the opportunity to schedule their second dose with us, but we are not able to open to any new community healthcare workers at this time.

We have been informed that the Santa Barbara Public Health Department will continue to vaccinate non-Sansum Clinic community healthcare workers, though, so they can be contacted for more information. Thank you for your understanding, and we will be in touch if our own ability to vaccinate healthcare workers in the community changes.

There was an announcement that a new standardized system will allow Californians in Phase 1B Tier 1 to make an appointment. Does that apply to Sansum Clinic?

We believe that this new system will pertain to sites other than Sansum Clinic – for instance, large-scale vaccination sites. We are not currently aware of any such sites that will be established in our region, although it’s possible that larger surrounding areas will have even greater capacity and a new system may more easily allow folks to register to receive vaccine there. It’s still important to remember that the best approach is to get both doses at the same organization/provider, and currently, we are not able to schedule anyone for a second dose who hasn’t received their first dose with us.

Will Sansum Clinic be included in the new vaccination plan to be implemented by Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente?

In an effort to enhance the transparency and equity in the vaccine roll out process, Governor Newsom has indicated that the vaccine allotment and distribution process will be transitioning away from the state and local public health departments later this month and will instead be managed by Blue Shield and Kaiser, which will be developing vaccine networks throughout the state, starting in the next few weeks. It is unclear how this will be implemented and which organizations will be considered within these new vaccine networks but we will keep you posted as we learn more.

How the Vaccine Works

How do the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines work? 

These vaccines are mRNA vaccines, which is a new type of vaccine that contains genetic material (messenger RNA) from the virus that causes COVID-19 and gives our cells instructions for how to make a harmless “spike protein,” a protein that is on the surface of the virus and is unique to the virus.

Our bodies recognize that the protein is “foreign” and should not be there and mounts an immune response by building up T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes (and generates antibodies) that will remember how to fight the virus that causes COVID-19 if we are exposed to and infected with the virus in the future. 

Where is the Moderna vaccine manufactured?

The COVID-19 vaccine, which we have been administering at Sansum Clinic, was developed by Moderna which is a biotechnology company located in Cambridge Massachusetts. The vaccine was developed and is manufactured at facilities in Massachusetts, and in an effort to scale-up production, the company will be producing vaccine in nearby New Hampshire and has also recently contracted with another manufacturer to produce more vaccine at a location in Switzerland.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get COVID-19, you could spread the disease to family, friends and others around you. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you by creating an antibody response in your body without your having to become sick with COVID-19.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the US (Pfizer and Moderna) have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

Can these vaccines cause COVID-19? 

No. These vaccines do not contain the actual virus and cannot cause COVID-19 illness.

What is the vaccine regimen for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and the Moderna vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose regimen with the second dose administered at least 21 days after the first. Nearly all COVID-19 vaccines being studied in the United States require two shots.

The first shot primes the immune system, helping it recognize the virus, and the second shot strengthens (boosts) the immune response. 

Anyone who gets vaccinated with one formulation must stay with that vaccine formulation for the second dose (e.g., Pfizer vaccine for the first dose must also be used for the second dose-there is no interchanging of formulations).

The Moderna vaccine second dose must be 28 days after the initial dose.

After I complete the two dose vaccine series will I need another Booster dose down the line? 

The need for and timing of booster doses for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (beyond the second dose) has not been established. No additional doses beyond the two-dose primary series are recommended at this time. 

Safety and Effectiveness

How do we know if these COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective? 

We understand that this accelerated timeline is unprecedented and has raised concerns for some people that safety may be sacrificed in favor of speed. However, as with all vaccines, safety is paramount. 

COVID-19 vaccines are tested in large clinical trials to make sure they meet efficacy and safety standards. With the Pfizer vaccine,44,000 people age 16 and older were vaccinated and there were no safety concerns identified that would preclude the vaccines use. Many people were recruited to participate in these trials to see how the vaccine offers protection to people of different ages, races, and ethnicities, as well as those with different medical conditions.

The Pfizer vaccine was reported to be 95 % effective and the Moderna vaccine was reported to be 94.5%effective, after completing the two dose series.

The Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from the clinical trials and authorizes emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. Then the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) reviews all safety data before recommending any COVID-19 vaccine for use. However, given the newness of the disease and the rapidity of vaccine development, it does take time, and more people getting vaccinated before we learn about very rare or long-term side effects. That is why safety monitoring will continue.

CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates. If a safety issue is detected, immediate action will take place to determine if the issue is related to the COVID-19 vaccine and determine the best course of action.

How did the vaccines get approved so quickly?

It comes down to when production begins. Normally, production starts after a pharmaceutical company completes the development stage, which includes rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness, and a series of reviews and approvals by the FDA and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) amongst others.

In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, the federal government invested taxpayer dollars to encourage pharmaceutical companies to start production before the development stage completed.

The vaccines are still going through the same rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness, review and approval process.

What are the benefits of getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

COVID-19 can cause severe medical complications and lead to death in some people. There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you. If you get COVID-19, you could spread the disease to family, friends and others around you. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can help protect you by creating an antibody response in your body without your having to become sick with COVID-19.

All COVID-19 vaccines currently available in the US (Pfizer and Moderna) have been shown to be highly effective at preventing COVID-19 and may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated may also protect people around you, particularly people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Experts continue to conduct more studies about the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on severity of illness from COVID-19, as well as its ability to keep people from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.

How long does protection last with these vaccines? 

Both this disease and the vaccine are new. We don’t know how long protection lasts for those who get infected or those who are vaccinated. What we do know 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. But further information will become public over time from ongoing clinical trials.

In comparison, immunity to two similar coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, lasted at least 3 years.

If the vaccine is not 100% effective, can I still get COVID-19?

The current vaccines under FDA review appear to provide significant protection against COVID-19 but they do not offer 100% protection. In fact, there is no vaccine which provides 100% protection.

Preliminary data suggests the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines offer 95% protection against infection.

How long does it take for “full protection?”

You need to have both doses to achieve the highest level of protection. Additionally, 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.

If I have an underlying health condition, can I get the vaccine?

There is currently no data that suggests having an underlying health condition is a reason to avoid getting the vaccine. In fact, those with an underlying illness or health conditions like diabetes, heart disease or obesity, are at an increased risk of developing severe side effects or hospitalization due to COVID-19.

If you have any condition which weakens your immune system, you may not have protection against COVID-19 infection. However, it is safe to receive the vaccine if you are immunocompromised.

For instance, if you are infected with HIV, are on immunosuppressive medication, or a transplant recipient there are no safety concerns but you may not get as strong a protective response. You should address your individual concerns with your primary medical provider.

Is the vaccine safe for those with compromised immune systems?

Vaccines can be taken by people with weakened immunity like HIV patients or other immunosuppressed conditions. They may not get the same effective response as someone without immune compromise.

I have a health diagnosis and take immune-suppressants.  Can I receive a vaccination?

Yes. It is possible that you may have less of an immune response to the vaccine, but we still recommend that you get vaccinated.

Does the vaccine have any effect on fertility?

There is no evidence that the vaccine could affect fertility.

The vaccine mimics infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine targets a single protein of the virus, called the spike protein. The vaccine does not contain live virus.

If I am of child-bearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding, is it safe for me to get the vaccine?

Taking into account both the risks and benefits of our patients receiving one of the two vaccines, based on our current knowledge, Sansum OB/GYN department supports the recommendations of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Society for maternal Fetal medicine (SMFM), and American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), that all patients planning to conceive, currently pregnant or who are lactating have access to the vaccine. We recommend that you discuss your personal situation, including vaccine availability and your risk of COVID-19, directly with your OB/GYN provider so that they can help you make the best decision for you.

For more information, read Covid Vaccine: Preconception, Pregnancy and Lactation.

Is there anyone who should not get a COVID-19 vaccine?

At this time, the vaccine is not recommended for children younger than 16 years of age. This is because researchers do not know enough about how the vaccine can affect children. The vaccine may not be recommended to those with certain health conditions. If you’ve ever had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not getting that specific vaccine. Also, people who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. PEG is an ingredient in some other vaccines and multiple FDA approved medications including bowel preparations, like Miralax.

If you have an immediate allergic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, don’t get the second dose. Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about receiving the vaccine.

If I have already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?

If you have previously been infected withCOVID-19, and have recovered, we recommend that you delay getting vaccinated for 90 days after your most recent positive test result.

There is a concern that you may have a stronger reaction to the vaccine if you get vaccinated soon after having had COVID-19, because your immune system is likely already“primed” as a result of the natural infection, and getting vaccinated could potentially result in a more vigorous immune response (e.g., possibly more side effects). Additionally, current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection due to the natural immunity that you likely now have as a result of making antibodies to the virus on your own.

As a result, we recommend that someone who has had a recent infection wait for 90 days prior to getting vaccinated. However, if you want to be vaccinated and it has been less than 90 days, you can be vaccinated. If it has been less than 90 days, vaccination should be deferred until you have recovered from acute illness (if you had symptoms) and criteria have been met to discontinue isolation.

I tested positive for COVID-19 after getting my first dose of the vaccine, but before my second dose. Should I still get the second dose?

If you test positive for COVID-19 in between your first and second dose of vaccine, we recommend you wait 90 days before getting the second dose for the reasons outlined above.

I was exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, but I feel fine. What should I do?

If you are actively infected with COVID-19 and under isolation precautions or have had a close contact exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and are under quarantine precautions, you should not get vaccinated until you are out of the isolation or quarantine period. Please read and follow theSanta Barbara County Public Health Department’s quarantine guidance at https://publichealthsbc.org/dont-feel-well/.

If I received monoclonal antibody therapy as treatment for acute COVID-19 illness, do I need to wait to get a COVID-19vaccination?

You must wait 90 days prior to receiving vaccine if you received monoclonal antibody therapy as treatment for COVID-19.

If I have side effects after receiving the vaccine, am I contagious to those around me?

If you have side effects after vaccination this does not mean you are in any way contagious to your family or community. You should continue to follow all safety measures like mask-wearing, hand-washing etc., just as you have been doing.

Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of severe allergic reactions?

If you have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications, you may still get a COVID-19 vaccine, and you should be monitored for 30 minutes after getting the vaccine (compared to the standard 15minutes for someone without a history of allergic reaction). If you’ve had an immediate allergic reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine. If you’ve ever had an immediate allergic reaction to any ingredient in a COVID-19 vaccine, the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention recommends not getting that specific vaccine. Also, people who are allergic to polyethylene glycol (PEG) should not get an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. PEG is an ingredient in some other vaccines and multiple FDA approved medications including bowel preparations, like Miralax.

If you have an immediate allergic/anaphylactic reaction after getting the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, don’t get the second dose. This guidance pertains to both the Pfizer andModerna vaccine. If you experience an immediate allergic reaction to either vaccine, you should not get a second dose of either manufacturer’s vaccine. 

Can the COVID-19 vaccine be co-administered with other vaccines? 

Given the lack of data on the safety and efficacy of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines administered simultaneously with other vaccines, the vaccine series should be administered alone, with a minimum interval of 14 days before or after administration with any other vaccine. If mRNA COVID-19 vaccines are inadvertently administered within 14 days of another vaccine, doses do not need to be repeated for either vaccine.

If I have been vaccinated but develop COVID-19 illness, will that impact treatment options?   

For vaccinated persons who subsequently develop COVID-19, prior receipt of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine should not affect treatment decisions (including use of monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma, antiviral treatment, or corticosteroid administration) or timing of such treatments.

What if I am currently ill/infected with SARS-CoV2? 

Vaccination of persons with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation.

This recommendation applies to persons who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection before receiving any vaccine doses as well as those who develop SARS-CoV-2 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose.

Is the vaccine effective for the new variant?

It appears there are more contagious variants of the virus circulating in different areas around the globe, like the one we’ve heard about in the UK. There is very limited data about this but researchers believe current COVID-19 vaccines will likely still offer some protection against these variants. However, it is possible that in order to keep pace with the new variants of COVID-19, additional booster doses of modified vaccine may be necessary.

After Your Vaccination

Do I still need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if I have received 2 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, like covering your mouth and nose with a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others. Together, COVID-19 vaccination and following the Public Health Department and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for how to protect yourself and others will offer the best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before deciding to change recommendations on steps everyone should take to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends following these precautions for avoiding infection with the COVID-19 virus:

  • Avoid close contact. This means avoiding close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) with anyone outside of your household. . This is especially important if you have a higher risk of serious illness.
  • Wear cloth face coverings in public places. Cloth face coverings offer extra protection in places such as the grocery store, where it's difficult to avoid close contact with others. Surgical masks may be used if available. N95respirators and surgical masks should be reserved for health care providers.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw away the used tissue. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Avoid sharing dishes, glasses, bedding and other household items if you're sick. Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces daily.
  • Stay home if you're sick. Stay home from work, school and public areas if you're sick, unless you're going to get medical care. Avoid public transportation, taxis and ride-sharing if you're sick.

What kind of side effects can I expect after receiving a vaccine? 

You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection. These side effects may feel like flu and may even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

On the arm where you got the shot, you may experience some pain or swelling at the injection site within 24 hours. To reduce pain and discomfort where you got the shot, apply a clean cool wet cloth over the area and try to use or exercise your arm. You can also take over the counter medications for pain, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen (e.g., Advil). If you are unsure if you can safely take an over the counter medication, check with your healthcare provider.

Some people have reported a fever, chills, fatigue or headache within 24-48 hours of vaccination. Drink plenty of fluids to reduce discomfort from the above symptoms.

When to call the doctor → In most cases, discomfort from fever or pain is normal. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider:

  • If the redness or tenderness where you got the shot increases after 24 hours
  • If your side effects are worrying you or do not seem to  be going away after a few days

We encourage all patients to enroll in the CDC’s V-Safe program, which will send you a text for six days to see how you are feeling after getting the vaccine, then once a week for six weeks.  The program will also send you a reminder text about your second dose. Visit https://vsafe.cdc.gov/ for more information.

If you have questions about the CDC’s vaccine texting program (V-Safe) or about possible side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine, see our What to Expect After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine flyer here. You can also visit the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department’s Vaccinations Questions page at: https://publichealthsbc.org/frequently-asked-questions-covid-19-vaccinations/.

See the What to Expect After Getting Your COVID-19 Vaccine fact sheet, which we are handing out to individuals who get vaccinated (along with the Moderna EUA Fact Sheet) which outlines the potential side effects and ways to manage them.

What is the observation period following vaccination (for persons without contraindications to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines)? 

The CDC recommends an observation period following vaccination with mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

Persons with a history of an immediate allergic reaction of any severity to a vaccine or injectable therapy and persons with a history of anaphylaxis due to any cause should be observed for 30 minutes. All other persons should be observed for 15 minutes.

I tested positive for COVID after getting my first dose of the vaccine, but before my second dose. Should I still get the second dose?

If you test positive for COVID-19 in between your first and second dose of vaccine, we recommend you wait 60-90 days before getting the second dose for the reasons outlined above.

I had a reaction to the first dose of vaccine. Should I get a second dose?

If you had experienced mild side effects (pain or swelling at the injection site, fever, chills, fatigue or headache within 24-48 hours of vaccination), you should get a second dose.

However, if you have had anaphylactic reaction to the first dose of vaccine, you should not get the second dose. Please talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns regarding this.

We encourage all patients to enroll in the CDC’s V-Safe program, which will send you a text for six days to see how you are feeling after getting the vaccine, then once a week for six weeks.  Visit https://vsafe.cdc.gov/ for more information.

Will I test positive for COVID-19 after I receive a vaccination?

You will not test positive for a COVID-19 on viral testing (e.g., PCR or antigen tests) after you receive the vaccine. However, as your body develops immunity and antibodies to COVID-19, you may test positive on COVID-19 antibody tests.

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COVID-19 Testing

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COVID-19 Vaccine Information

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Urgent Care & COVID-19

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How We Are Keeping You Safe