Table of contents

General

Can children get the vaccine?

Children who are 12-17 years old can get the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have only been approved for those 18 or older. 

There are no FDA-approved vaccines for children who are age 11 and under as of now. 

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Is the vaccine free?

Yes, it’s free. You may be asked for your insurance information, but this is only to bill the insurance company. You should not be personally billed for your vaccine. If you don’t have insurance, then the government pays for the vaccine. 

For more information, see the Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccines? question in the CDC’s FAQs. 

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Do I need to make an appointment to get the vaccine?

It depends on the vaccination site. This Santa Clara County webpage has a list of drop-in vaccination clinics (no appointment required). 

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Can I still get the vaccine if I don't have insurance?

Yes, you can get the vaccine. The vaccine is free and paid for by the US government. You will not be denied the vaccine because you don’t have health insurance. 

For more information, see the Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccines? question in the CDC’s FAQs. 

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Appointment scheduling

Where can I sign up for an appointment?

If you don’t know where to start, My Turn is a California government website where you can find available appointments through various healthcare providers, pharmacies, or vaccination sites. You can also book an appointment directly through healthcare providers and pharmacies:

Healthcare provider appointments

Anyone can book an appointment with any of these healthcare providers (the only exception is the VA, which may have an eligibility requirement). You don’t need to be a member or patient with these providers or have insurance to be eligible for an appointment.

Pharmacy appointments

These pharmacies provide COVID-19 vaccines:

I tried signing up for an appointment, but there are no available times.

Due to the high demand for vaccines and production delays, it is often difficult to make an appointment. Be patient and persistent. Appointment slots tend to show up in batches on vaccination appointment websites. 

Here are some strategies to get an appointment:

  • Try a drop-in vaccination clinic. See the list on this Santa Clara County webpage
  • Expand your range. Enter several ZIP codes you are willing to travel to. Some vaccination sites may only be available to people who live or work in that county. These sites will indicate if they are only available to select people. 
  • Check vaccination appointment websites often.

    • Practice: Get familiar with how to sign up for an appointment.
    • Have your insurance card ready: If you have health insurance, have pictures of the front and back of your insurance card on your computer and phone in case you need to upload pictures. You can still get the vaccine without health insurance. 
    • Refresh often: Open up multiple tabs on your computer with different vaccination appointment websites. Refresh the pages and check for updates at different times of the day.
    • Check out crowdsourced vaccine availability resources:
  • Sign up for vaccine notifications.

    • My Turn: If no appointments are available, it will give you an option to sign up for notifications via email and text message. 

    • County notifications: Sign up for notifications through your county. If your county is not listed below, use My Turn. 

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Can I sign someone else up for an appointment?

Yes. You may need the following information to sign someone else up for an appointment:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Insurance information
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • ZIP codes of places they can travel to

 

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How can I sign up without internet or an email?

Below are some phone numbers you can call to schedule an appointment. You may need the following information to schedule your appointment over the phone.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Insurance information
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • ZIP codes of places you are willing to travel to

General vaccine information and appointment scheduling

My Turn CA COVID-19 Hotline

1-833-422-4255 

Monday–Friday, 8 am–8 pm

Saturday–Sunday, 8 am–5 pm

Healthcare provider appointment numbers

You do not need to be a member of these healthcare providers to get an appointment, except for the VA. 

El Camino Health

408-871-7460

Monday–Friday, 8 am–5 pm

 

Kaiser 

Current members:

866-454-8855

6:30 am–7 pm PT

Non-members or previous members:

800-464-4000

Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Health 

844-987-6115

Monday–Friday, 7 am–6 pm

Saturday–Sunday, 8 am–5 pm

 

Stanford Health Care

650-498-9000

Monday–Friday, 8:00 am–5:00 pm

VA Palo Alto Health Care System

The VA is vaccinating veterans, spouses of  veterans, caregivers of veterans, and recipients of Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) benefits.

  • 650-496-2535
  • Monday–Friday, 8 am–6 pm

Community resources for appointments

MVBT’s Technical Support Team

  • 650-964-9426, extension 3

 

Leave a voicemail, and we will get back to you when we can.

Sunnyvale Senior Care manager number (For Sunnyvale residents who are 75+)

  • 408-730-7360

Valley Connection Call Center (For Mountain View residents)

  • 408-970-2000
  • Monday–Friday, 7 am–9 pm
  • Saturday–Sunday, 8 am–4:30 pm

 

Available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and other languages

How can people who are homebound or can't travel get the vaccine?

Contact the person’s primary care doctor. They may be able to refer you to a resource.

Mountain View homebound residents may be eligible for a mobile vaccination through the Mountain View Fire Department. Their mobile unit will come to the residence, and a Mountain View firefighter/paramedic would administer the vaccination. 

Email CovidVaxHome@phd.sccgov.org for more information.

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On the day of the vaccination

What do I need to bring?

If you signed up for an appointment online, check your email for what you need to bring to your appointment. If you scheduled over the phone, ask the provider what you need to bring. 

You may need to bring the following:

  • Your driver’s license or state ID
  • Your insurance card (This is not required if you don’t have insurance.)
  • Confirmation of the appointment (This can be the email or a paper copy.)
  • Vaccination consent form (You may be asked to fill this out ahead of time. If nothing is mentioned in your email, don’t worry about it.)
  • Vaccination attestation form (You may be asked to fill this out ahead of time. If nothing is mentioned in your email, don’t worry about it.)
  • Cell phone (Bring this in case the vaccine provider needs to contact you.)

On the day of the appointment, also wear the following:

  • Mask
  • Short-sleeved shirt so you can easily get the vaccine
  • Comfortable shoes, in case you need to wait in line
  • Sunscreen, in case you need to wait outside

How do I get to a vaccination site if I don't have a car?

If you are in Santa Clara County, VTA provides free rides to vaccination sites in Santa Clara County. They are currently not collecting fares. 

To find the best route, follow these steps:

  1. Go to the VTA interactive map.
  2. Click on a location. This will take you to Google Maps.
  3. Enter in your address in the “Choose starting point” field towards the top. Google Maps will bring up routes you can take.

 

If you are not in Santa Clara County or your vaccination site is not in Santa Clara County, this Healthy Transit Plan page provides information on many public transportation options to vaccination sites in the Bay Area.

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After getting the first vaccine

What are the side effects of the vaccines?

The vaccines affect everyone differently. You may or may not experience side effects. Side effects may be a normal sign that your body is building protection. 

Here are the common side effects that the CDC lists:

On the arm you got the shot:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

Throughout the rest of your body:

  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Nausea

For more information, here’s the CDC’s guidance on possible side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.

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When do I need to schedule the second vaccine?

According to the CDC, the scheduling for the second vaccine depends on which vaccine you got:

  • If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you are done. This vaccine only has one dose. 
  • If you got the Pfizer vaccine, get the second dose 3 weeks (21 days) after your first dose.
  • If you got the Moderna vaccine, get the second dose 4 weeks (28 days) after your first dose.

 

Do not get the second vaccine before the required time. You can get the second dose up to 6 weeks (42 days) after the first dose if you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

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How do I make a second appointment?

If you got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, there is no second dose. You are done.

For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, some vaccination appointment websites would have you schedule your second appointment when you schedule your first appointment.

If you were not prompted to schedule a second appointment, you might be able to make the second appointment at the vaccination site after your first dose.

If you still need to make a second appointment, you can go through a vaccine appointment website. Select that you are scheduling for a second appointment, include the date of your first appointment, and select if you got the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. 

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Is it safe to visit loved ones after I get my vaccine?

It depends. Read the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people before visiting loved ones. 

According to the CDC, It takes two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Modera vaccine or two weeks after the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. 

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Do I still need to wear a mask after I'm vaccinated?

If a service or business requires that you wear a mask, wear a mask.

According to the CDC, It takes two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Modera vaccine or two weeks after the one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be considered fully vaccinated. 

Here’s the CDC’s recommendation for masks after being fully vaccinated:

For now, fully vaccinated people can gather indoors without physical distancing or wearing masks with:

 

Until more is known, fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart from other people in other settings, like when they are in public or visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.

Additional recommendations can be found at When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated.

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