COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. For the best protection, everyone 6 months and older is recommended to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, which includes getting boosters if eligible. For now, these protective vaccines are free. For your no-cost COVID-19 vaccine, you can go to:
- Your health care provider.
- Pharmacies, such as CVS, Rite Aid or Walgreens. To make an appointment, visit CDC’s Find COVID-19 Vaccines.
- Community health centers.
The safety of COVID-19 vaccines is a top priority. Millions of people in the U.S. and over 400,000 people in Sonoma County have received COVID-19 vaccines under the most intense safety monitoring in U.S. history.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California Department of Public Health recommends that all individuals 6 months and older should get the COVID-19 vaccine primary series and stay up to date with their boosters. Learn more from CDC about COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses.
Why get a COVID-19 vaccine?
- Getting a COVID-19 vaccine is a safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19. Vaccination helps protect you by creating an antibody response without you having to experience potentially severe illness or post-COVID conditions.
- Getting sick with COVID-19 can cause severe illness or death, and we can’t reliably predict who will have mild or severe illness.
- You may have long-term health issues after having COVID-19. Even people who do not have symptoms when they are first infected can have these ongoing health problems, also known as long COVID or post-COVID conditions.
- While people can get some protection from having COVID-19, the level and length of that protection varies and is not as strong as immunity from vaccinations.
- Serious side effects that could cause a long-term health problem are extremely rare following any vaccination, including COVID-19 vaccination. The benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks.
Who can receive a bivalent booster?
Booster shots specifically formulated to protect against the highly contagious omicron variant are available in Sonoma County. These boosters, known as bivalent vaccines, are made by Pfizer and Moderna. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends:
- Everyone 5 years and older can get the bivalent booster two months after completing their primary series or last monovalent booster.
- Children 6 months to 5 years old who have completed the Moderna primary series can get the bivalent booster two months after completing their primary series. (Please note: Children 6 months to 4 years old who have completed the Pfizer primary series are NOT eligible for the bivalent booster.)
- Those 65 and older or who have weak immune systems can now get an additional bivalent booster dose to keep their protection against the virus strong. Additional boosters are available four months or longer after the first booster.
How do health care providers receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines?
CDPH is working with California’s local health departments, the California Medical Association, and other partners to ensure that all eligible providers can receive and administer COVID-19 vaccines., It also redirects providers to enroll in myCAvax and MyTurn. For more information, visit CDPH’s CA COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment.
Side effects after COVID-19 vaccination
COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people from getting severely ill with COVID-19 and side effects are normal. Though not everyone experiences side effects, some people do. Side effects are signs that your body is building protection. For more information, visit the CDC’s Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine. Common side effects that may be experienced:
- Pain, redness and swelling on the arm.
- Nausea, tiredness, headache, muscle pain, chills and fever.
Side effects should be mild and go away in a few days. If you experience more serious symptoms, call or visit your health care provider.
Addressing myths and misinformation
Accurate vaccine information is critical and can slow the spread of myths and misinformation. To answer questions you might have or to find out more about common misconceptions, visit:
- CDC: Myths and facts about COVID-19 vaccines
- CDC: Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 vaccination
- Mayo Clinic: Vaccine myths debunked
- Johns Hopkins Medicine: COVID-19 vaccines – Myth versus fact
- AARP: 10 Myths About Coronavirus Vaccines
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: 3 Considerations for COVID-19 Vaccination of 5- to 11-year-old Children