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COVID-19 Vaccines Are Here — What You Need to Know [web resource] [downloadable]

COVID-19 vaccination is one of the most important tools to end the COVID-19 pandemic. California is prioritizing vaccines for equitable distribution to everyone who wants it. The state expects to have enough supplies to vaccinate most Californians in all 58 counties by summer 2021.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUA) for two COVID-19 vaccines. More vaccines may be authorized early this year.

Learn more about FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization for Vaccines and watch a video on what an EUA is.

Vaccine safety is a top priority

COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA have been shown to be safe and effective in clinical trials.

The U.S. vaccine safety system ensures that all vaccines are as safe as possible. Learn how the federal government is working to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

California formed a Scientific Safety Review Workgroup of experts to ensure the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. This workgroup has confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the FDA are safe and effective.

When can I get vaccinated?

California is allocating and vaccination providers are administering the vaccine as they become available. California will be transparent and careful to ensure equitable vaccine distribution.

Initially vaccine supply will be very limited. At first, vaccines will be provided to healthcare workers and long-term care residents in accordance with the CDPH Allocation Guidelines.

California’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan

After healthcare workers and long-term care residents, the next to be vaccinated will be individuals who:

  • Have higher risk for severe disease or death (due to age or other factors)
  • Are unable to work at home
  • Live or work in geographic areas that have been highly impacted
  • Are most likely to spread disease to other workers or to the public

Vaccination plans for each county are available at the county websites.

These individuals will be prioritized as follows:

Moving through vaccine phases

After focused and appropriate efforts to reach the prioritized groups, vaccine providers may offer doses to people in lower priority groups when:

  • Demand subsides in the current groups
  • Doses are about to expire according to labeling instructions

Read CDPH Recommendations for Moving Through Vaccine Phases and Tiers.

How vaccine decisions are made

A group of experts and a group of community representatives work together to make sure vaccines are prioritized fairly.

Drafting Guidelines Workgroup

A Drafting Guidelines Workgroup is developing California-specific guidance for the prioritization and allocation of vaccines.

See CDPH’s Workgroup page for the vaccine’s phasing and resource materials.

Community Vaccine Advisory Committee

The Community Vaccine Advisory Committee is providing input and feedback to the planning efforts and resolving barriers to equitable vaccine implementation and decision-making.

See CDPH’s committee activities page for the upcoming meeting schedule and all meeting materials.

Vaccine allocation and administration

Once a week, the federal government announces anticipated allocation figures for each state. The number of allocated doses provided by the federal government is a projection and subject to change. Local California providers are required to place their orders which are reviewed by the state and submitted to the federal government. The federal government then authorizes the order and submits the request to the manufacturer. The manufacturer or central distributor ships the vaccine directly to the local California provider. It can take a week or longer between when doses are allocated by the federal government to when they arrive at public health offices or providers and are ready for administration.

How COVID-19 vaccines work

Vaccines help our immune system fight infections in the future. COVID-19 vaccines will protect us from the virus that causes COVID-19 without having to get the illness.

It typically takes a few weeks after the last dose in a series to become fully protected. On the days after taking the vaccine, you may have a sore arm, aches, fatigue or fever, but these are not harmful. These symptoms signal that your immune system is developing protection from the virus.

Benefits of getting vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccines are meant to prevent you from getting COVID-19 and from spreading it to others. The ability of COVID-19 vaccines to protect us from spreading the virus to others is not yet known, but is being studied carefully.


See the COVID-19 vaccine page on the state’s website for questions and answers about the vaccine.

Fact Sheet

Download the COVID-19 Vaccine fact sheet:

Source: COVID19.CA.GOV | Vaccines, https://covid19.ca.gov/vaccines | public domain. Retrieved January 13, 2021.

If you are a parent or caregiver and would like to schedule an evaluation or get advice about your child’s challenges, call or email a CHC Care Manager at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org

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