My Health LA is here to help you with COVID-19 questions and answers, including how to protect yourself and your family and how to find community resources.
Questions About the Vaccine
The U.S Food and Drug administration, known as the FDA, approved the use of three (3) vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). These vaccines are all proven to be safe. The Pfizer vaccine has been approved for people 12 years old and older, and the Moderna and Janssen vaccines have been approved for people 18 years old and older.
Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two-dose vaccines, which means you need to get two shots for full protection. For the Pfizer vaccine, you should get them at about 21 days apart, and about 28 days apart for the Moderna vaccine. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine is a single-dose vaccine so you only need 1 shot.
Vaccines lowers the chances of getting a disease by working with your body’s natural defenses to build protection. When you get a vaccine, your immune (defense) system:
- Recognizes the germ, like the virus or bacteria.
- Produces antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced naturally by your body to fight the disease.
- Remembers the disease and how to fight it. If you are then exposed to the germ in the future, your immune (defense) system can quickly destroy it before you get sick.
The COVID-19 vaccines are being held to the same safety standards as all vaccines. These shots were tested in tens of thousands of adults from different backgrounds, which include older adults and communities of color. In the studies, the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to help prevent getting you sick from COVID-19.
Learn how the federal government is working to make sure COVID-19 vaccines are safe.
To make sure the COVID-19 vaccine meets safety requirements, California made a Scientific Safety Review Workgroup. The workgroup gives recommendations to leaders in California and gives confidence to the public that the vaccine is safe.
For more information about the vaccine, please visit the LA County Department of Public Health.
No, you cannot get the virus from getting the shot. None of the COVID-19 vaccines use a live or active form of the COVID-19 virus. For this reason, the vaccine cannot give you the Coronavirus disease.
You might feel some side effects for a while after getting the vaccine. The side effects are usually mild, and you do not need to get treatment or change your day to day activities. The feelings or side effects are signs that your body is working to protect you from the disease.
Trusted information shows that the vaccines work and are very effective at preventing you from getting sick from the COVID-19 disease and preventing you from needing to go the hospital. This protection takes about 14 days after you finish getting the vaccine shot or shots. Some of our vaccines require 2 shots, while others only require one shot. If you take the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine, the one shot will give you full protection. Please know that this is early information and we do not know how long the protection will last. We also don’t know if a person is still able to carry and spread the COVID-19 infection after getting the vaccine.
Common Side Effects of the COVID-19 Vaccine are:
- Pain, swelling, or redness around the area where you got the shot
- Fever or chills
- Feeling tired
- Muscle or joint pains
- Nausea or vomiting
- Swollen lymph nodes
There is a small chance that the COVID-19 vaccine could give you a severe (bad) allergic reaction. A bad allergic reaction could happen a few minutes to one hour after getting a shot of the COVID-19 vaccines. Signs of a bad allergic reaction can be:
- A hard time breathing or wheezing
- Swelling of the face and/or throat
- A fast heart beat
- A bad rash all over the body
- Feeling dizzy
- Felling weak or fainting
If you feel any of these signs, call 9-1-1 or go to the closest hospital.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being offered do use the genetic material called mRNA, which stands for “messenger RNA” to fight the virus but it does not do anything to your genes. Instead, the genetic material is used to teach the cells in your body to recognize the outside part of the virus that causes COVID-19. That way, if you get the virus, your body will stop it from making you sick. The COVID-19 vaccine does not change your genes which are made of DNA. mRNA is not the same as DNA, and it cannot combine with your DNA to change your genetic code.
The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine does not use mRNA. Instead this vaccine uses a virus that cannot infect humans that has a material made to look like part of the COVID-19 virus to teach your body to recognize and fight the COVID-19 virus.
The FDA suggests that a person should not get the vaccine if they have a history of severe allergies to vaccines.
Yes. It is safe for people with hepatitis C and HIV to get the COVID-19 vaccine. There are very few medical reasons not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please talk with your provider if you have specific questions about your condition or diseases.
Yes. You and your healthcare worker will both need to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth when getting any shots, including a COVID-19 vaccine.
Currently, we do not know how long the protection against COVID-19 will last.
The Pfizer vaccine has been authorized for people age 12 and over. Moderna and Janssen vaccines are only authorized for people age 18 and over.
Getting the Vaccine
The COVID-19 vaccine is very safe. It will prevent you from getting sick with COVID-19. All Health Services patients will receive the vaccine for free.
All patients over the age of 12 can get the COVID-19 vaccine now.
We are giving the Pfizer, Moderna the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccines. For more information about the Johnson& Johnson vaccine, click here.
Online: Make your appointment online, using the MyWellness Patient Portal, click here for more information on how to schedule your COVID vaccine and access your vaccination record using the portal. If you don’t have an account, click here, to make one.
Learn more about the COVID vaccine here.
Health Services has a COVID-19 Nurse Advice Call Line: 844-804-0055. It’s available from 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M., 7 days per week.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have two shots. For the Pfizer vaccine, you should get them at about 21 days apart and for the Moderna at about 28 days apart. The Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) is only 1 shot.
It is very important to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine if you receive the Pfizer or Moderna shot. Your body will not build the protection it needs if you do not get the second dose. Make sure you get your second dose at the place where you got your first dose. Be sure to bring your vaccination card with you. If you have questions about your second dose, call your clinic.
Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and LA County Department of Public Health recommend for people with a weak immune system to receive an extra shot 28 days after getting their second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.
This includes people who have:
- Been getting regular cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Had an organ transplant and are taking medicine to lower the natural defense of their immune system
- Had a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to lower the natural defense of their immune system
- Moderate or severe immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Regular treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may lower their immune system natural defense
- Call your clinic or
- Send a message to your provider through the My Wellness Patient Portal.
This 3rd shot is to improve people’s immune system response to their 2nd dose series. This is not the same as a booster shot, which is given to people when the immune response to a vaccine series has decreased over time.
At this time, booster shots are being studied. If and when they are recommended, we will be giving the booster shot to those who are eligible.
For more information on the CDC’s recommendation, click here.
No. In fact, you could get really sick with COVID-19 if you have a health issue like diabetes or high blood pressure. The best way to protect your health is to get vaccinated. The vaccine is safe. You may feel side effects like body aches, tiredness or low fever. These are all signs that the vaccine is working.
Yes. It is safe to get COVID-19 vaccine if you plan to get pregnant someday. Scientists study every vaccine carefully for side effects that happen right away and for many years after that. All the scientific research today shows that the vaccine is safe for women to take even if they plan to have a baby in the future.
Yes. There are no reports that say there is a high chance for pregnancy loss, growth problems, or birth defects. As of July 2021, more than 139,000 pregnant people have been vaccinated without pregnancy or fetal problems. The CDC and pregnancy experts recommend for pregnant and breastfeeding people to be vaccinated against COVID-19. For more information please see the CDC website.
It is possible to get COVID-19 more than once, just like you can get the flu twice in one year. We also don’t know how long you are protected after you have the virus. You should still get the vaccine even if you had COVID-19.
Due to the increased COVID-19 transmission related to the delta variant, updates on masking guidelines have been updated. Please visit the Department of Public Health Masking Recommendations for the latest guidelines.
Please note that masks will still be required for all our visitors and patients at our hospitals and clinics.
Everyone 12 and older is eligible for the free COVID-19 vaccine — and it’s now easier for older teenagers to get the shot.
A parent, legal guardian or foster parents needs to call to make the appointment, but does not need to be present at the time a vaccine is given. Teenagers aged 16 and 17 can bring this consent form signed by a parent or guardian when they come to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s still better if a parent or guardian can accompany their teens, but the consent form allows flexibility for working parents.
12 through 15-year-olds must be accompanied by their parent, legal guardian, or a responsible adult. If the child is accompanied by a responsible adult, the consent form must name the responsible person and be signed by the parent or legal guardian.
Yes. If lately you had a positive test or you were around someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you may benefit from monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies are a treatment that imitates how your body naturally fights infections like viruses. The treatment lowers the chance of serious disease from COVID-19 and can prevent COVID-19 in people who had the virus before. Monoclonal antibodies are NOT a substitute for COVID-19 vaccination. Please get your vaccine!
To learn more, send an email to MLKCOVIDMAB@dhs.lacounty.gov. Please include your full name, date of birth, and the best phone number to call you.
You will get a white CDC vaccination card as proof after getting your COVID-19 vaccine at a DHS clinic. Three other ways you can get proof of your vaccine are:
Yes. You can get a COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines at the same time. You do not need to wait 14 days between vaccinations anymore. Studies found that the immune response, which is the way our bodies build protection is about the same. The side effects are also about the same when you get one or more vaccines.
Learn more about the timing of other vaccines.
Now, CDC recommends for people with a weak immune system (or moderately to severely immunocompromised) to get an extra shot. This includes people who:
- Are getting regular cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
- Had an organ transplant and are taking medicine to lower the natural defense of their immune system
- Had a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to -lower the natural defense of their immune system
- Have moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
- Have advanced or untreated HIV infection
- Are getting regular treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other medicines that may lower their immune system natural defense
Talk to your healthcare provider about your medical condition and whether getting an extra shot is right for you.
An extra shot is for people with a weak immune system. People who may not be able to build enough (or any) protection after getting vaccinated. An extra shot helps to make sure people with weak immune systems build the same amount of protection as other people.
A booster shot is for someone who built enough protection after getting vaccinated, but the protection got weaker over time (this is called waning immunity).
People who got the J&J vaccine will likely need a booster shot. The CDC will give recommendations for when to get J&J/Janssen booster shots.
No, the vaccines are working, but public health experts are starting to see weakened protection against mild and moderate disease with the Delta variant. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is planning for a booster shot so vaccinated people can keep the same level of protection in the future.
Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine and Adolescents
No, everything is the same: adolescents need two shots of the Pfizer vaccine 21 days apart for full vaccination, just like adults. Research shows that the same dosing schedule works well in preventing adolescents from getting sick with COVID-19 and causes few side effects.
According to the FDA, none of the 1,100 children who got the Pfizer vaccine during the vaccine clinical trial, got COVID-19. 16 out of 1,100 children who didn’t get the vaccine tested positive for COVID-19. The study also found that vaccinated adolescents had high levels of antibodies in their blood — a sign their bodies had developed strong protection against the virus.
The clinical study found that many in this age group who got the vaccine had similar side effects as young adults who got the vaccine. Please see “What are the side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine?”
Children and adolescents can get sick from the coronavirus and can infect others. Although their cases tend to be less, some children have developed serious complications. During the pandemic, COVID-19 has been one of the leading causes of death among children.
Currently, we do not know when children under 12 will be able to the COVID-19 vaccine. There may be an update from the FDA in Fall 2021.
General Information about COVID-19
Please get tested and follow these Home Quarantine Instructions
For more information, visit http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/covidquarantine/
Please follow these Home Isolation Instructions
The new coronavirus is a type of virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19). COVID-19 is an infection of the airways and lungs.
The virus is spread from person to person through tiny droplets made when an infected person nearby coughs or sneezes. You can also get it by touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.
Symptoms can feel like those from the common cold or flu. They can be mild to
severe. Some people may not have any symptoms and others may have 1 or more of
the below symptoms:
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
• Chills, with or without repeated shaking
• Muscle pain
• Sore throat
• New loss of taste or smell
This list does not include all possible symptoms. Most individuals can get better with
rest and time, others may need medical care.
Most people with symptoms get them between 2 and 14 days after contact with a sick person. Most will simply get better on their own. But some people may have to be hospitalized. The elderly and those with underlying medical conditions are at highest risk.
- There is no need to see a doctor if you have mild symptoms.
- Call your doctor if you have a fever or cough AND are elderly, pregnant, have a weakened immune system or other major medical problems.
- If you have trouble breathing or having a medical emergency, please dial 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.
Yes. If you are having a medical emergency, emergency rooms will care for you. To help you and our workers, emergency room staff will screen you for COVID-19 like symptoms and decide what treatment you need.
- Stay at least six feet away from other people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer for 20 seconds.
- Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your elbow when you cough or sneeze. If able, wear a face covering when you go out or if you are around people who do not live with you. Even with a face covering, it is important to stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Resting, drinking fluids and taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) may make you feel better. Most patients will simply get better on their own.
For patients who are hospitalized due to trouble breathing, there are some new treatments which can be given to treat COVID-19.
The racist medical experiments which are part of our country’s history were wrong. This sad truth of our past is something that we must never forget. At the same time, black, Latinx and Indigenous Americans are getting sick and dying from COVID-19 at much higher rates than white people. We encourage all people, especially those of color, to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The test for COVID-19 is free. Call your clinic or the COVID-19 Nurse Advice Line at 844-804-0055 for medical advice. To schedule an appointment at a county test site, go to covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
Call the COVID-19 Nurse Advice Line at 844-804-0055 for medical advice.
You should get a test if you:
- Have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Were asked by LA County Department of Public Health to get a test.
- Were in “close contact” with someone who has COVID-19 in the past two weeks.
- Work or live in places such as skilled nursing facilities, group homes, residential care facilities, correctional facilities or homeless shelters.
- Are a person experiencing homelessness.
- Are an essential worker with frequent contacts with the public in one of these areas: health care, emergency, food and grocery services, factory workers in food and retail, public transportation, and education.
- Don’t have symptoms but think you may be infected because you were exposed to people who were sick, were around many people who were not wearing face coverings and/or were not keeping a safe distance in the past 2 weeks.
The test for COVID-19 is free. To schedule an appointment at a county test site, go to covid19.lacounty.gov/testing.
For more information about who should be tested call your doctor or go to https://covid19.lacounty.gov/testing-faq/.
The vaccine is free to everyone, including our patients.
To protect your health during this time, we have made some changes to your medical care.
Click on the expandable links below to learn more.
If you have an urgent need, our Urgent Cares / Clinicas de Urgencia’ are available. It is okay for you to come in. If you have symptoms or questions about COVID-19, please call 844-804-0055 first.
If you think you are having a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest Emergency Department.