Covid Vaccination

Sandy Rose, cafe manager at Monte Vista Elementary School, left, is administered a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine by medical staff Melissa Rosenthal, right, during a closed POD vaccine clinic for educators at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, Friday, March 5, 2021.

How things have changed since health care workers were first vaccinated against Covid-19 in Monterey County in December. For awhile vaccines were hard to get, now they are plentiful. While more than half of Monterey County residents from age 16 and up have received at least one dose, the vaccinations will continue until as many people as possible are protected against the deadly virus.

The Weekly compiled this guide to make things a little easier for anyone interested in receiving a Covid-19 vaccination. Save this guide for future use and pay attention for updates as the vaccination situation unfolds. As we’ve learned in this pandemic, change comes often.

AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A VACCINATION?

As of May 13 in Monterey County, all residents age 12 and up are eligible under guidelines set by local, state and federal authorities. Currently only the Pfizer vaccine has federal approval for use in children between the ages of 12-17.

Stay tuned for younger children. Approval could come as early as this fall.

HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT?

Many clinics throughout the county are now offering the vaccine to patients. If you regularly visit a specific clinic, try contacting there first. A range of pharmacies are now offering vaccines. Walk-in clinics are now available in some cases. The list below includes links and phone numbers.

More Info on where to find vaccines: 

  • Alliance on Aging: Excellent source of up-to-date clinic information for all ages. Go to allianceonaging.org/covid-19. Or call: English, 831-646-4931; Spanish, 831-646-5043. 
  • Monterey County Vaccines: A new website in English and Spanish done in connection with the Covid-19 Collaborative through the Community Foundation for Monterey County. montereycountyvaccines.com.

More sites will become available as additional vaccines arrive in the county. Pay attention to news and social media updates, as occasionally pop-up clinics will be announced. 

DO I NEED TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT IN ADVANCE?

Mostly. Montage Health recently began taking walk-ins for first doses at its Marina clinic. There are exceptions for other clinics, like what happened when hundreds of people didn't show up for a mass vaccination clinic in Salinas April 10. The county quickly put out the word that they would accept walk-ins the next day. About 200 people showed up.

County officials say it is critical that people show up for their appointments. Many people have been double booking and then failing to cancel appointments they have no intention of keeping. This makes it difficult for pharmacists, who remove vaccine doses from freezers based on how many people say are showing up.

WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE COMPUTER ACCESS?

The 211 service by United Way Monterey County is helping people with no computer access or skills to sign up over the phone. Dial 211, and follow instructions for accessing the vaccination help desk. A representative will do the registration process for you. This service is only for those who truly cannot sign up on their own via the internet.

The representatives at 211 are using the county’s vaccine registration website. If appointments are full, you will be told to call back another day.

Other agencies are now offering phone help. See the list above.

WHO DO I CONTACT IF I HAVE QUESTIONS?

  • Monterey County Covid-19 call center: call 831-769-8700, or email covid19@co.monterey.ca.us
  • State of California: (833) 422-4255
  • United Way: call 211
  • For seniors, call the Alliance on Aging: English, 831-646-4931; Spanish, 831-646-5043
  • For veterans, call the Monterey County Military and Veterans Affairs Office: 831-647-7613

WILL THE VACCINATION COST ME ANYTHING?

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LEARN MORE

The vaccine itself is provided at no cost to recipients, paid for by taxpayers through the federal government.

The agency, physician or pharmacy administering the vaccine may bill a person's health insurance to be reimbursed by the government to cover the cost of an administrative fee. For uninsured patients, whoever is giving your vaccine can get the fee reimbursed through a federal fund.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING TO MY APPOINTMENT?

Proof of age is required. If you have insurance, Medi-Cal or Medicare bring that information too, just in case.

Documents accepted to prove age for adults (bring one):

  • Driver’s license
  • California ID card or REAL ID card
  • Social Security card
  • Military ID
  • Passport

For ages 12-17: 

  • A parent or guardian
  • Proof of residency
  • Proof of date of birth

WHAT ABOUT A SECOND DOSE?

You should be able to schedule your second dose at the time of your first-dose appointment. If you can’t keep the second appointment, call the agency that administered the vaccine as soon as possible to reschedule.

A second dose is required for two of the three vaccines currently approved, those produced by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires one dose only to be effective.

For Pfizer and Moderna, it is critical people get their second dose in order for the vaccine to be effective. If you aren't available about a month after your first dose, make sure to arrange for a second dose within about three months.

IS THE JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE SAFE?

Yes, for the vast majority of the population it is completely safe. The Centers for Disease Control put a brief pause on its use in early April after several young women under the age of 50 experienced a very rare reaction creating blood clots. After a panel carefully studied the situation, the CDC declared the Johnson & Johnson vaccine safe on April 23 for the general population.

"A review of all data at this time shows that the J&J/Janssen Covid-19 Vaccine's known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks," the CDC's statement reads.

It advises women under 50 to be aware of the risks and if concerned, use other available vaccines. For three weeks they should be on the lookout for any possible symptoms, including: severe or persistent headaches; blurred vision; shortness of breath; chest pain; leg swelling; persistent abdominal pain; easy bruising. Seek medical attention right away if any of the symptoms develop. 

¿DONDE PUEDO ENCONTRAR INFORMACIÓN EN ESPAÑOL?

  • El condado de Monterey tiene información en inglés y español: mcvaccinate.com
  • O llame al: 831-769-8700
  • *Nota: Para cambiar el lenguaje en la página de internet del condado de Monterey. Vaya a la parte superior derecha de la página. Dele click a “Select language.” Seleccione “Spanish” y verá el contenido en español.

This is an updated guide. For an earlier version click here.

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